Heroin fight: Addiction-fighting agency could expand into town

By Catherine Gabe - cgabe@civitasmedia.com

Wellington’s heroin and opiate problem is prompting local officials to consider ways to bring treatment services into the community and host a town hall meeting.

The LCADA Way may expand into Wellington, said Thomas Stuber, president and CEO of the organization.

“Our focus is on trying to meet the needs of the communities,” he said. “We have recently opened up in Medina and we’re talking to Wadsworth.”

He and fire chief Tim Barfield met recently and identified a common mission to tackle the growing epidemic.

Wellington has seen an increase in crime and heroin and opiate overdose deaths. In fact, the morning Stuber and Barfield met, a funeral was held for someone who had overdosed, Stuber said.

Wellington also recently hosted a planning meeting with The LCADA Way, police, fire, EMS, school officials, and some from Communities That Care of Lorain County, a coalition working to prevent underage substance use.

Planning is just starting for a town hall meeting, which could be held sometime in April. Some also want to bring back Hidden In Plain Sight, a traveling exhibit they hosted about a year ago, which brings awareness to parents and community members about risky behaviors.

“If we can get space donated at city hall or the college, we could run an intensive outpatient group three nights a week and provide a counselor for that,” Stuber said.

There are also many people on probation in the southern part of the county who find it difficult to get to Lorain for services. “There is synergy there and we are pulling together all the powers that be to see what we can provide,” said Stuber.

Arrangements can be made for clients to confidentially access The LCADA Way services remotely at Lorain County Community College’s campus in Wellington. Telemedicine, as it’s called, has worked well in other communities, providing a way for clients to meet with a counselor and do a session via the computer, Stuber said.

The LCADA Way already provides contracted services at McCormick Middle School. Services include curriculum and a counselor who is available four hours a week. The counselor is available to students, faculty, and parents and is totally confidential.

The LCADA Way used to have a presence in Wellington with a facility called Heartland Circle, which provided space for programs and some 12-step meetings.

“It met the culture of the community,” Stuber said. “It was neighbor helping neighbor and that may be the way to work things ultimately… but there is an urgency now of ‘let’s do something to stop these overdose deaths.’”

Catherine Gabe can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @ReporterGabe on Twitter.

By Catherine Gabe