Despite reporting an increase in drug overdoses and overdose deaths in 2018, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office wants the community to know there are a variety of support services and resources available in the county, and “it’s never too late to take that first step.”
Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin said the county saw a 25 percent increase in drug overdoses from 114 in 2017 to 143 in 2018, and he reported that the number of overdose deaths also increased in 2018 to 22 from 19 in 2017.
“These drugs became more lethal in 2018 than we’ve ever seen,” he said.
However, Martin said Narcan, a medication used by medics and law enforcement in the county to treat drug overdoses, is partially responsible for stemming the tide of overdose deaths.
“Narcan has had an impact,” Martin said. “And if you look nationwide, too, the interdiction efforts and the law enforcement efforts are making a difference.”
Martin praised the work of the county’s drug task force and said it seized 7,314 grams of heroin in 2018, enough to kill 40 people on average. He added the group’s fluidity allows them to address trends as they arise.
“A nimble response means you quickly try to adapt to what you are seeing on the street, and I think the Delaware County Drug Task Force has done a good job of that,” Martin said. “Heroin began to show itself, and we hit it. These attempts at interdicting drugs before they hit the consumer is a game of whack-a-mole. Once you begin to target, isolate, and take enforcement actions on one particular type of drugs then another rears its head.”
Martin said the drug market is constantly changing, and drug dealers will change and push whatever drug is cheaper and easier. The drug task force works to analyze trends to stop dealers.
“I can’t say enough about the current work of our drug task force,” Martin said. “It has almost doubled in size and participants. We now have federal law enforcement and state partners who collaborate with our Delaware County Drug Task Force.”
Julie Krupp, the drug liaison at the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, said anyone who is struggling with drug abuse or knows someone who is addicted can contact her to be put in connection with the right resources and support services in the county.
“The sheriff has stated before that we can’t arrest our way out of this problem,” Krupp said. “My position as drug liaison is a true example of that. I serve as a civilian with the office, and there are no punitive outcomes as a result of working with me. Our preference is to surround people with resources and support, not handcuffs and jail cells. Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns you have; it would be my honor and pleasure to work with you.”
Krupp said no situation is hopeless.
“The best advice I can give is: Trust your instinct,” she said. “If something doesn’t feel right about yourself or someone you are close to, then it probably isn’t. Your job is to reach out and ask for help and support. Let me help you figure out those next steps. The sooner you can get help for you or someone close to you the better; but no matter when you reach out, it is never too late or too hopeless to take that first step.”
Krupp can be reached at 740-833-2829 or via email at email@example.com.
Other county substance abuse resources include:
• The anonymous drug tip line, 740-833-2790 or firstname.lastname@example.org
• Helpline: 24-hour crisis hotline, Resources and Information can be reached by calling 211, texting the word “HelpLine” to 898211 or via email at helplinedelmor.org
• The Delaware General Health District: Naloxone Access 740-203-2040
• Maryhaven: 740-428-3800 or on Maryhaven.com
• Syntero 740-428-0428
• Drug-free Delaware 740-369-6811 or on drug-freedelaware.org
• Delaware-Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Services Board 740-368-1740 or at dmmhrsb.org
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.