Fact: Heroin and other dangerous drugs run rampant in Sandusky.
Fiction: Community members don’t care nor do they want to help addicts and anyone else afflicted by drug use.
Complete myth: Community members are shying away from talking about the issue.
People representing the Sandusky Crime Prevention Council organized Clear Vision, a forum inviting local health and law enforcement officials to discuss drug use with residents.
Local activists seeking safer neighborhoods scheduled a forum mainly to:
• Curb illegal drug use.
• Educate community members about drug use.
• Refer addicts or those afflicted by drug use avenues for recovery.
Council president John Hartman outlined two goals for Tuesday’s dialogue: education and awareness. “We want to let people in the community know that they can get involved and get help for themselves, a loved one or just in general,” Hartman said. “This is also going to be an eye-opener to let people know drugs don’t care what color you are, how much money you make or how nice your house is. They affect you. They affect every single one of us one way or another.”
Hartman, along with others, gathered different officials to speak so they could explain Sandusky’s soaring drug culture from different perspectives, including from a criminal point of view.
“The narcotics problem in the city of Sandusky is citywide,” Sandusky police Detective Lester Peters said. “The problem is no longer contained in the city and is now spilling over into other communities. All communities need to become more proactive in reporting these problems. Forums, such as these, can help spread the message.”
Part two of the forum involves letting people know about avenues for recovery.
“For those persons and families affected by drug abuse or addiction, effective treatment is available based on ability to pay,” said Kirk Halliday, executive director for the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Erie and Ottawa Counties. “If someone has no income, they pay nothing at all. Treatment works. People recover.”
Hartman’s not sure how many people might attend — or even how many people this forum will help.
But he knows a summit is long overdue and needed to improve the community and lives for Sandusky residents, including himself.
“Obviously, in the two hours, we are not going to solve the world’s problems,” Hartman said. “But hopefully a few people will walk out of there knowing they are better equipped to handle a situation because they are a little bit more educated.”