NF police get $50,000 to combat opioid crisis

NEWTON FALLS — A $50,000 grant from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office will help the village police department in its effort to combat the increasing threat of opioids.

Newton Falls was the only Trumbull County community to receive a portion of $3 million in grants.

“We will strategically use these funds to help those seeking assistance in overcoming drug issues as well as leading covert operations aimed at identifying and sending drug dealers to prison,” Newton Falls police Chief Gene Fixler said. “We are proud to say we are one of 19 northern Ohio communities to receive the grant.”

The money will be used, in part, to finance the village’s Helping Addicted Loved Ones program, also known as HALO, which refers people with drug problems to treatment programs.

“During or shortly after initial contact, first responders will explain treatment and recovery options to patients,” Fixler said. “Pertinent literature will be distributed to patients and their family members. Our police department will establish a log to track overdose incidents and measure outcomes.”

Fixler is teaming with members of the national organization Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, also known as PAARI, and with Safe Passages Initiative, a Cuyahoga County-based program.

“Our goal is to help those who want recovery,”Fixler said. “We will work in cooperation with civic organizations, churches and recovery centers to assist those addicted to get help and stay clean.”

Newton Falls has 20 officers, including full-time and part-time officers.

DeWine said there are a lot of good programs in Ohio that need a small boost in getting started and being able to continue.

“There is so much good work going on to fight this opioid epidemic and with this new grant money, we can make even more of a difference,” DeWine said.

Nine other law enforcement agencies, including Winchester, East Liverpool, Piqua, Troy, Sidney and Barberton police departments, as well as Pike, Summit and Morrow County Sheriff Departments, each received $50,000 grants. Three communities received grants between $80,000 and $83,502, while 20 communities received $100,000 grants, and six communities received $125,000 grants.

rsmith@tribtoday.com