MIAMI COUNTY — As she carried the photo of her daughters’ friend who died of a heroin overdose a month ago, Lorna Taylor broke free from the crowd of Hope Over Heroin marchers to yell up to the Miami County Jail cells that she loved her daughter and that she was praying for her on Saturday afternoon.
The Hope Over Heroin event drew a crowd of several hundred to the Miami County Fairgrounds over the weekend. The faith-based outreach also included a “City of Resources” for addicts and family members to connect them to social and faith-based services.
Taylor openly shared that both of her daughters, Tasha, 27, and Tara, 25, are heroin addicts.
“It affects me really bad,” Taylor said. Taylor also shared that she, too, is a recovering crack addict and has been clean since November 2015. “I went to women’s recovery. I just can’t save (my daughters), but I can try to help them.”
Taylor shared that she has remained clean for eight months because of “people, places and things and a higher power.”
Taylor shared that she attended Hope Over Heroin both Friday and Saturday. On Friday evening, Taylor said she attended the event to seek help for her daughter Tasha for her addiction.
“Tasha came with me yesterday. We talked to the women’s wellness people. She has an appointment Monday. They are supposed to put her in the Nova House (a sobriety center in Dayton) on Tuesday,” Taylor shared.
Taylor hollered up to the jail cells a few more times, telling her daughter Tara Carnes, 25, that she loved her before releasing the red balloon in her hand.
“I just came out to support everybody, you know, heroin addicts and all. I hope that it saves them,” Taylor said.
Her daughter Tara has been incarcerated for theft and receiving stolen property related to her heroin addiction since December 2015.
During the march from the Miami County Fairgrounds to the Miami County Courthouse and Safety Building, Taylor carried a photo of a young blonde woman.
Heather Dawson, 27, of Piqua, died on June 3, 2016 of an apparent heroin overdose. She would have turned 28 last week. She left behind one son, family, and friends. Taylor carried Dawson’s photo in hopes Tara might have seen it through the safety building’s bars.
“Staying away from people that do (heroin) because they aren’t your friends to begin with,” said Taylor, sharing how she believes addicts can stay clean.
“I’m just going to keep praying for them. That’s all I can do. That’s the least anyone can do,” she said.
Miami County Heroin coalition making strides to help addicts
Miami County Heroin Coalition members attorney Steven Justice said more than 1,000 people attended the Hope Over Heroin event Friday when hundreds flooding the fairgrounds on Saturday evening.
“I felt like that God’s presence is real and a lot of lives have been transformed,” said Justice on Saturday. “I thought the march was amazing. There were several hundred people who participated. I feel like this is a real marker event for Miami County. They want to see a movement of God and really across the whole community to break this addiction. It’s a group effort from the beginning. Whenever you bring people together and they are willing to unite for a cause like this you have a chance to make a difference.”
Miami County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Dave Duchak said the event was a great way to get the county’s resources together to help combat the heroin epidemic that has swept the county in the last several years.
“Hopefully it is educating the community that there is a real problem, not only in our community, but nationally. We all have to work together to eradicate it,” Duchak said. Duchak is a member of the Miami County Heroin Coalition which formed under Justice’s leadership in January 2016.
“We felt that so many different disciplines in Miami County are fighting this and that we needed to get all of us in one room and coordinate better,” Duchak said. “With all the people are fighting this from law enforcement to medics to hospitals and mental health professionals. We met monthly in our training center and we’ve learned a lot.”
The coalition has accomplished several initiatives such as the city of Troy starting the Quick Response Team to educate addicts of the community resources. Other initiatives include a system of care and resource guide, and the training a local doctor to administer Suboxone, a medication to treat opioid addiction. The sheriff’s office road deputies also have been trained to become equipped with supplies of Narcan, the opioid antidote, since mid-May.
Approximately 71 heroin overdoses have been reported in Miami County since 2016. According to Troy Police Department’s Capt. Joe Long, 40 of those cases have been reported in the city of Troy since Jan. 1.
Miami County Recovery Council executive director Thom Grimm shared how his agency helped during the weekend event.
“I think it’s a great turnout in terms of raising public awareness,” Grimm said. “Just seeing how people are touched. Every one here has a story and has been touched in some sort of way.”
MCRC assisted community members on how to seek help for addicts and how to communicate with addicts who may not be ready to face their addiction.
“I think from the Recovery Council’s standpoint I’ve been getting more optimistic that we are going to have more resources in Miami County with the help of the Miami County Heroin Coalition that started in January,” Grimm said. “We’re just going to keep seeing what we can do to keep bringing more resources into Miami County.”
For more information about the Hope Over Heroin organization, visit www.hopeoverheroin.com.
Members of the Miami County Heroin Coalition including Jonathan Newman of Koinos Baptist Church speaks to a crowd Saturday during the event in Troy. Several 100 attended the faith-based event at the Miami County Fairgrounds in Troy.