Drug Crime and Addiction
When I first entered public office on City Council, Franklin and our surrounding communities were entering the peak of the opioid epidemic. Addiction rates were at historic highs, our jails and morgues were reaching capacity, and our first responders were being pushed to their limits with the overwhelming number of drug overdoses.
Like many people my initial belief was that this was simply a crime and punishment issue. But as the phone calls kept coming and the body count kept rising -- it became clear that this was not just a matter of personal responsibility. Opioid addiction is not just gripping criminals and recreational drug users, it’s effecting our teachers and nurses, our doctors and lawyers, our parents and children. It effects mothers and fathers who otherwise are law abiding citizens.
Our laws should be designed to protect society from those who seek to make victims of their neighbors. Predators who bring drugs into our communities or commit acts of violence in the name of addiction must be prosecuted. But, if you are a person who doesn’t wish to do harm to your community, your neighbors, or your family but are afflicted by the sickness of addiction, well then your place is in treatment for rehabilitation.
That is why our HOPE program is the initiative I am most proud of in Franklin. HOPE stands for Heroin and Opioid Prevention through Education. This program is simple but extremely impactful and successful.
Every time a person in our community overdoses, a crises resource team (the HOPE Team) is dispatched to meet with them within 48 hours. Our HOPE teams are built with the understanding that they will be serving people at the lowest moments of their lives. Each response team is made up of 4 specifically chosen individuals: a resource advisor to help connect the person with services that will assist in getting their lives back in order such as seeking out treatment, a plain clothed Police Officer to inform them that we want to help and not punish, a recovering addict from the HOPE program who has been in their shoes and can testify to the path out of darkness, and an EMT (if possible, the EMT who served them medically during their overdose and often times brought them back by administering a life-saving dose of NARCAN).
The HOPE program is a true community response to a community problem. As your representative I will continue to fight to make sure that Warren County and Hamilton County to have access to every available resource to defeat the enemy that is opioid addiction; resources to protect our children, heal our sick, and restore our families.
With that, drug dealers in our communities, we bring down the hammer relentlessly and that will continue. It's a two-pronged approach: get people off of their chemical addiction and strongly punish those providing the drugs in the first place. This is extremely difficult to do when our southern borders are wide open with drugs flowing in freely, but I'll discuss that on a different page.