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War on Drugs

Alex Green • Jul 2, 2014 at 3:00 PM


Drug abuse and treatment options have been at the top of Lorrain Croy's political opponent's priority list.

The topic appears to be high on her list as well.

Both Croy, candidate for Ottawa County Common Pleas Court judge, and incumbent Judge Bruce Winters attended a judicial symposium Monday with state leaders in Columbus to discuss drug abuse and addiction throughout the state.

It was another obvious indication of the prevalence of opiates in Ohio, Croy said.

"(Drug abuse and addiction) not only affects Ottawa County, it affects all (88) counties" in the state,  Croy said. "Everybody has a problem."

Experts with the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Erie and Ottawa Counties recently determined opiates, particularly heroin, were among some of the cheapest and easiest illegal drugs to find in the state.

Ottawa County will start administering vivitrol to eligible parolees and inmates who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction in an attempt to fight against the seeming epidemic.

Vivtrol, a non-opiate, can block the urges to use drugs or drink alcohol, Winters said.

Croy said there are indeed drugs recommended by medical professionals to fight addiction, which could be beneficial.

But the problems of a suffering drug addict are much larger in scope, she said.

"They need housing options, they need jobs," Croy said. "These drugs often need to be taken for at least two years."

Croy has been a proponent of specialized court dockets in which a criminal offender, who may sometimes be a drug addict, goes through a stage of "intense probation."

The person charged would meet with the judge once a week where rewards and sanctions would likely be discussed.

"I believe my skills can administer the docket and make discretionary decisions on specialized dockets," Croy said.

She has experience with such programs during her time as a Sandusky County assistant prosecutor, she noted.

Croy said she will look to continue the specialized dockets already used in Ottawa County and perhaps expand the methodology if possible.

Both Croy and Winters have ideas for combating drug addiction in Ottawa County, as the November election may go a long way in deciding what methodologies are used.

Winters has begun implementing a drug court in which certain criminal offenders and parolees are forced to submit weekly drug tests, among other stringent conditions.

Croy said she would be open to continuing this program if she were elected, but perhaps tweaking and increasing the program's eligibility.

Winters has also been trying for years to garner support for a sober living house that would require residents to stay clean, above all else.

But potential tenants also would work while practicing basic societal functions, such as how to maintain a bank account and how to cook healthy food.

Their ideas for fighting drug abuse differ also, but the subject is clearly at the forefront of both their campaigns.

Winters fired Croy in 2012 when she worked under him as a court magistrate. Neither have been able to shed much light on the firing.

They seem to have dissenting opinions on the matter, since Croy said she still does not fully understand why she was fired.

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