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Lawrence continues to see ODs, suicides

August 12, 2018

IRONTON - While drug overdoses are down through the first half of the year, the number of overdose deaths remains up, according to Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson.

There have been 102 overdoses this year compared to 326 in 2017, and there have been 12 fatal overdoses and four more possible overdoses, Anderson said. There were 21 fatal drug overdoses in 2017, he said.

A quick response team in the prosecutor’s office tries to visit overdose victims within 48 hours and try to get the people into treatment, Anderson said. When the people seek treatment, no charges are filed in the case.

The prosecutor’s office got a grant last year to start the quick response team, which has done about 60 assessments thus far, Anderson said.

While the number of fatal drug overdoses is up, so are suicides. There have been seven suicides thus far this year in Lawrence County, according to Commissioner Bill Pratt.

While those with drug problems have some support systems, there is nothing locally to deal with suicides, Pratt said during a Lawrence County Board of Commissioners meeting last week. He did give out a number of a suicide prevention hotline, 800-273-8255.

In other action, board members heard concerns about plans to extend the parking lot on the Center Street side of the courthouse to the front of the building to allow handicapped accessibility to the 4th Street side of the courthouse.

“We want to see if we can minimize the impact on the (courthouse) lawn,” said Commissioner DeAnna Holliday. “We want to look at the options.”

Chris Kline, deputy county auditor, said the Lady Liberty statue has been moved to storage due to plans to make some courthouse improvements this year.

The board also:

n Agreed to send letters of commendation to Lawrence County students participating in the state science fair. They are Dawson Forbush, Allison Plantz, Zoey Aleis Schmidt and Leah Faye Fields from Chesapeake Middle School, Caleb Michael Huff and Braxton Jae Slusher from Dawson Bryant Middle School, and Katrina Abbott, Kia Booth, Isabella Burcham, Sebastian Davies, Emily Anne Graham, Colin A. McKinley and Hanna Shrout from Fairland High School.

n Proclaimed August as Child Support Awareness Month in Lawrence County.

n Accepted the resignation of William Smith and James Barham from the county Emergency Medical Services.

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