First of Six Meetings Held on Opiate Abuse in Clinton County

Panel members from left are Clinton County Prosecutor Tony Sommer, Circuit Court Judge Brad Mohler, Superior Court Judge Justin Hunter, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office Detective Matt Feterick and Frankfort Police Chief Troy Bacon.

Between 65 and 70 individuals attended the first of six discussions regarding the United Against Opiate Abuse Project held Monday afternoon at the Frankfort Community Public Library.

“We’re sharing information with the community and we’re answering questions,” said United Way of Clinton County Executive Director Carolina Booth. “There is a communication going on back and forth between people wanting answers about things they have been wondering about.”

Those who attended the first topic entitled “Law Enforcement and Judicial Branch” got the opportunity to hear a presentation from a panel of six local and area officials including Superior Court Judge Justin Hunter, Circuit Court Judge Brad Mohler, Clinton County Prosecutor Tony Sommer, Clinton County Sheriff’s Detective Matt Feterick, Frankfort Police Chief Troy Bacon and Clinton County EMS Director Greg Miller. Following those presentations, Don Stock, who served as the facilitator, asked questions of the panel which were submitted by the public.

“I’m glad to see members of the community come, to listen and to engage the panel with some questions,” said Sommer. “I think this got some information out there. For myself and other panel members, this is information we deal with everyday. So, this is familiar to us. But, I don’t think it’s familiar to members of the community.”

Sommer said there were just over 110 drug offenses in 2016 and 201 drug offenses in 2017. However, he added the drug cases were only 15 percent of his case load.

“We’re spending 90 percent of our time on five percent of the population,” he said.

Mohler agreed.

“We’re seeing a lot of the same people in criminal cases,” said Mohler. “We see them back more than we’d like to. One third to one half are back on the same cases.”

Starting in March, Frankfort police officers will investigate all non-fatal and fatal overdoes as crime scenes in an increased effort to identify and build strong criminal cases against dealers. Last year, police officers responded to 57 overdoses with Naloxone (Narcan) administered 24 times. So far this year, there have been nine overdoses with Narcan administered four times..

“Hopefully, the policy that we’ve enacted and those guidelines will slow everything down for us,” said Bacon. “Officers can now collect the right information they need to give to the narcotics detectives.

“If we use it and we revive someone, our ultimate hope is that they will cooperate with us,” added Bacon. “Because these investigations won’t happen unless there’s cooperation.”

However, despite the increase in cases, Sommer said they are not experiencing nearly the number of cases here in this county that other communities are dealing with.

The next event will be called “Education and the Impact of Drugs on our Schools” and be held on March 19 at the Frankfort Community Public Library. The event is currently set for 4 p.m. However, there is the possibility that time could be changed in order to have hopefully more people attend.

United Way and Center Township are partnering together for this event where people can ask questions of local leaders and organizations

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