Community leaders, residents come together to talk about heroin

TOLEDO (13abc Action News) - Residents and community leaders came together Monday night to talk about heroin, its effects on the community, and what recovering addicts call a tough journey toward getting sober.

Toledo councilman Tyrone Riley said heroin is a huge problem in Toledo.

"Heroin is destroying lives, it's destroying families, and it's destroying communities."

Speakers included an undercover police officer and recovering heroin addicts. They said it's easy to get addicted.

Jan Moore works as the Block Watch Captain for the Willy's Park area.

"People who are using drugs can only sustain being a productive member of society for so long before the drug takes over," she said.

Moore said eventually their lives fall apart.

"People turn to the streets, then, to find money to feed their habit," she said.

Many said recovery can be hard, but motivation is key.

Sarah Heslet has been sober for five months, so she knows how difficult it can be. But she urges recovering addicts, "be proactive as if you were proactive when it came time to find drugs, you need to be extremely proactive when it comes time to find a better life."

When Heslet decided to get clean, she says the facility she went to turned her away because they didn't have room.

Councilman Riley says that’s something that Toledo can’t help.

"We don't have the money, the resources available to provide beds," he said.

But Riley said the city is working with law enforcement. He said one of the best lines of defense: awareness.

"Programs like this help bring awareness and education to the community, to the neighborhoods where it can be of help to someone who's struggling with drug abuse, some families struggling with someone who's addicted," he said.