On August 8, 2017, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association held one of its most well-attended Hot Talks. ‘The Opioid Crisis in Northeast Ohio’ is something on the minds of the Cleveland community. There are not many families and friends left untouched by this terrible epidemic that has taken a staggering number of victims already.
We heard from 3 panelists:
- Judge Lauren Moore who spoke about her specialized Drug Court work in the Cleveland Municipal Court. She sees and works with people convicted of drug-related offenses. Drug Court may be offered to a felony offender charged with a low-level possession of a controlled substance, who has only one nonviolent felony conviction and is chemically-dependent. The defendant is required to enter a plea of “guilty” to a first-degree misdemeanor. Their sentence is held pending successful completion of the program. Upon successful completion of Drug Court and payment of a supervision fee, a participant’s guilty plea is vacated, the charge(s) dismissed and the case sealed or expunged. Judge Moore works one on one with families to help them complete the Drug Court program, many of these families have fallen victim to the opioid crisis.
- Marisa Darden, the Assistant United States Attorney here in Cleveland, Ohio, spoke to us about the legal side of the Opioid crisis. She told us that the number of overdose cases in Cuyahoga County has doubled, and is set to only go higher. Marisa also talked about the victimology of this crisis. The frightening thing is that there is no specificity to victims. Some of the addictions start legally with prescription painkillers. There are no socioeconomic barriers or indications of who might become addicted. She then went into what is happening with the Mexican cartels who are bringing the opioids. They are lacing other drugs with fentanyl, when a person combines a substance like cocaine with fentanyl or carfentanil, the results can be serious at best, but are often times fatal. The attorney’s office is taking legislative action to up the number of detox beds in hospitals, and be able to get those patients on Narcan or Naloxone. They are also encouraging patients to be their own advocates and protectors. If a doctor prescribes you painkillers you don’t need, you absolutely have the right to only fill a portion of them or say, “Doctor, no. I do not want that many”. Follow this blog for more information on how to deal with legal opioids.
- Alicia Rock, MSCJ, ABMDI, is the Supervisory Medicolegal Death Investigator for the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office and had a wonderful powerpoint that explained the science of the heroin epidemic/opioid crisis and went through some staggering statistics. Did you know that an average of 8 people per day die because of an overdose right here in Cuyahoga County?
This topic of the Heroin Epidemic and/or Opioid Crisis certainly concerns the community. A big THANK YOU to both the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and the Louis Stokes Scholars for tackling this concerning topic and bringing education and awareness to the community. Stay tuned to the Cady blog to find out more about this epidemic. We will cover topics such as what you can do to help, resources available and news updates.
This article was written by Michelle Cady-Cook. She is the Director of Marketing and part owner of Cady Reporting (a WBENC company). She is a sustaining member of the Cleveland Association of Paralegals, and is currently serving as Past Chair of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Green Initiative Committee and heads up the Social Media efforts for the National Network of Reporting Companies (NNRC). She has been officially involved in the legal community for over 10 years. Within the framework of Cady Reporting Services, she partners with locally owned court reporting firms across the country to continually improve the practice of litigation.
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