Members and guests of the Williams County Township Association convened for their annual banquet and business meeting on the evening of November 17 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Edgerton.
Bob Short, the President of the Williams County Township Association, promised all in attendance a meal beyond compare, and the ladies of the Rosary Alter Society of the St. Mary’s Church proved him right. Guests were served baked steak and mushroom smothered breasts of chicken, with dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans. The desserts were slices of a myriad assortment of pies. No one left the hall hungry.
After the meal, the attendees were educated and entertained by two special presentations. The first was a presentation by two members of the Multi-Area Narcotics (MAN) Unit. Their presentation was one of jaw-dropping proportions. The jurisdiction of the MAN Unit covers 2,140 square miles in Williams, Fulton, Henry, Defiance, Paulding and Putnam Counties, and serves a combined population of 184,708.
The recent explosion of meth, heroin, Fentanyl and prescription opiate abuse is not a breaking news story in Williams County. The scope of the problem is though, and the news is nothing short of stunning. The State of Ohio is comprised of 88 counties. In 2015, the county with the second most methamphetamine labs was not Cuyahoga, Franklin or Hamilton, the homes of Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. The county with the second most methamphetamine labs in all of Ohio also ranked 66th out of the 88 in overall population…Williams County. A blanket of stunned silence fell over the hall as the presentation continued.
In 2015, the MAN Unit handled 143 cases related to meth in Williams County alone. That number is almost five times greater than prescription abuse cases, over six times greater than the amount of marijuana cases, and almost seven times the amount of heroin cases. In fact, the volume of cases related to meth was 25.87 percent greater than the amount of crack or cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, marijuana, synthetics, prescriptions and permitting drug abuse cases…combined.
Another problem that has begun to move to the forefront of opiate abuse is that of Fentanyl. This prescription drug is an incredibly potent pain killer that is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and 40 to 50 times the strength of pharmaceutical heroin. Normally administered in the form of a patch, Fentanyl has found its way onto the streets where it commands a high price, and the addict does not wear the patch; he or she chews it. Raw Fentanyl has also found its way to the street, and Ohio BCI testing of confiscated heroin is finding that it is being cut with Fentanyl. As there is no FDA testing, standards or guidelines for these illicit substances, the users are casting their fates to the wind. The red line of lethality is only discovered after the drug is administered, and by then it is too late to do anything about it.
Once discovered, Fentanyl is so potent, the law enforcement officers handling it must wear protective gloves as the chemical will be absorbed through exposed skin.
The second presentation on the evening was of the entertainment variety, and was provided by the theater and chorale ensemble of North Central High School, In Flight. Under the direction of Deb Myers, the group kicked off the evening in costume as they reprised their roles from their Spring Musical, ‘Rock of Ages’. Performing several numbers from the musical, the group added in some jazz-tinged Christmas music, along with some thought provoking pop.
Upon completion of the programs, the township trustees entered into the business of the evening. The financials were read and approved, as were several reports. The trustees agreed to contract with the Williams County Fair Board for a fair booth at the 2017 event. In the matter of officer elections, Bob Short was elected to another term as Association President, as was Nancy Barnes as Secretary-Treasurer. Jeff Burkholder was elected to succeed Tom Gerig as Vice-President, and Tom Worthington was elected to take over the Executive Committeeperson post vacated by Burkholder after his election as Vice-President.
Timothy Kays can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org