May 16, 2022
Overdose Spike Anomalies Identified in Lorain County
LORAIN, OHIO – On May 14, the Lorain County Public Health Department received notification of a “drug anomaly” alert indicating there had been 10 drug overdoses over the span of 24 hours.
This includes five females and five males: three under the age of 29, two between 30 and 39 years old, one person between 40-49 years old and four over the age of 50 years old. The unusually high increase reflects the number of drug overdose visits to emergency rooms. It was one of three overdose anomalies so far this month.
The three unprecedented overdose anomalies in May include:
- May 14: 10 overdoses
- May 7: 9 overdoses
- May 1: 8 overdoses
In addition, Lorain County first responders and the Coroner’s office have also reported a noticeable increase in suspected overdoses including one mass overdose event involving four individuals from May 13-15.
There are resources available for those who are actively struggling with substance use disorder:
- A non-emergency bilingual Navigator is available with treatment and other resource information at 440-240-7025
- Call the Crisis Hotline at 1-800-888-6161
- Get a Narcan rescue kit for free. These are available at the Lorain County Public Health Department at 9880 S. Murray Ridge Road, Elyria.
- Visit the Harm Reduction Clinic at The Nord Center, 3150 Clifton Avenue, Lorain to exchange needles, obtain fentanyl strips and more
Some facts to note about substance use disorder as a medical disease from the National Institute of Health:
- Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain.
- It is considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness.
- Addiction is the most severe form of a full spectrum of substance use disorders, and is a medical illness caused by repeated misuse of a substance or substances.
- Addiction is a treatable, chronic disorder that can be managed successfully. Research shows that combining behavioral therapy with medications, if available, is the best way to ensure success for most patients. The combination of medications and behavioral interventions to treat a substance use disorder is known as medication-assisted treatment. Treatment approaches must be tailored to address each patient’s drug use patterns and drug-related medical, psychiatric, environmental, and social problems.
For more information about addiction, visit our website at https://mharslc.org/faq-addiction/.
About the MHARS Board The Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County brings together the expertise, resources and proud histories of the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County and the Lorain County Board of Mental Health. The people served by mental health and substance use disorder systems have a common goal – recovery. Consolidating the county’s addiction and mental health partners strengthens our ability to coordinate treatment and recovery services, which helps us improve the lives of our clients, their loved ones and the community. Our goal is to maximize delivery of these health services. It means providing the right care, in the right setting, at the right time. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram or connect with us on our website at www.mharslc.orgLearn More
Amanda Divis serves as the Board’s Adult Behavioral Health Services Director. Following graduate school at Case Western Reserve University, Divis began her career conducting in-home community-based therapy for adolescents with co-occurring substance use and mental health concerns. She has addressed mental health and recovery needs with people of all ages and from diverse backgrounds in the individual, group, and family-based settings. She is dedicated to community-based mental health, addiction recovery and harm reduction programming. Divis is a resident of Avon Lake.Learn More
Rebecca Jones works at the MHARS Board of Lorain County as the Child and Adolescent Services Director. Jones is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor-Supervision with a Master of Education in Community Agency Counseling. Most recently, she served as a clinical director at the largest mental health care provider in the MHARS Board network. She has worked in community mental health for 20 years, with extensive experience in providing clinical oversight of behavioral health services to diverse populations. She is known for developing and implementing best-practice clinical programming to meet the needs of the community.Learn More
Carrie, a lifelong resident of Lorain County, was originally with the ADAS Board, then followed along with the merger and has been a part of the Board since 2019. With an Associate’s degree in Psychology and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services, with a concentration on addictions and substance abuse, she is a strong advocate for recovery. Carrie is the administrative Assistant to the Clinical team, a Peer Parent coach and participates in community outreach for the Board. She is a proud mother of a daughter (Sarah Baraniak) and 2 beautiful grandchildren, Mikey and Skylar, who take up most of her free time.Learn More
Tonya Birney, MS, LPC, LICDC, OCPC, earned her Masters of Science Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Walden University and her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Business Management from Notre Dame College of Ohio. Tonya currently is the Dissemination and Implementation Director for-Prevention Services for the Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services Board of Lorain County. Previously, she provided administrative oversite and supervision for behavioral health and public health, including AOD outpatient treatment, behavioral health prevention, and harm reduction services, to encompass Narcan and Fentanyl test strip distribution. An Ohio MHAS SBIRT trainer, Tonya is also a certified instructor for Overdose Lifeline, Inc. and the QPR Institute. A resident of Grafton, Ohio, Tonya is passionate about assisting local organizations with mental health and substance abuse issues. Tonya often presents as a subject matter expert on addiction and other behavioral health prevention topics. She also represented the state as an item writer for the ICRC AODA Prevention Exam in 2011.Learn More
Peggy Baron works at the Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services Board of Lorain County and has added to her role and is now the Grants Coordinator and Community Relations Officer. She has been with the board since 2019, when it merged with the former Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County, where she was the Associate Director since 2015.
Born in Lorain, Peggy has been a life-long resident of Lorain County and currently lives in Lorain with her husband and their 2 sons. She is a graduate of Admiral King High School and The Ohio State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Advertising. Prior to her work at the Board, Peggy spent over 21 years working in radio at various local radio stations including for The Walt Disney Company at Radio Disney Cleveland and in local sports television. While working for Radio Disney she was selected to participate in the inaugural Disney Channel World Wide Development Leadership Program, and as the Associate Director of the ADAS Board, she coordinated the annual Voices for Recovery 5K Family Fun Run celebrating National Recovery Month.
What she enjoys the most about her work at the MHARS Board is knowing that through funding and community outreach we are helping to make it possible for the residents of Lorain County, who are struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues, to get the help they need to get onto the path to recovery and to living a happy, healthy life.
Overdose Lifeline training courses are offered for free in Lorain County. These courses are aimed at educating and training the public on addiction, the opioid crisis, combating stigma, harm reduction and more. They are also available for youth and adults. Upon completion of courses, a certificate will be sent to participants, which is valid for three years.
What Courses are Offered?
- The Opioid Public Health Crisis: understanding foundational knowledge of the nationwide opioid public health crisis, solutions and action to take to to reduce the epidemic’s effects, understanding the potential misuse of opioids, risk factors, and suggested prevention and reduction methods.
- Guide to Harm Reduction: convey a working understanding of harm reduction, understanding of harm reduction principles and services, and what it means to practice harm reduction.
- The Brain and the Disease of Addiction: how the brain is affected by substances and how the disease of addiction develops.
- Medication Assisted Treatment: understanding the role of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in treating Opioid Use Disorder and understanding MAT as a part of comprehensive medication-assisted recovery.
- Removing the Shame and Stigma of Substance Use Disorder: learn about the consequences of shame and stigma associated with addiction, review reasons addiction is stigmatized, explore solutions to address shame and stigma, identify the shame and stigma, and recognize negative beliefs associated with a person, issue or circumstance often based on assumptions rather than facts.
Why Get Trained?
Accidental overdoses led to 140 fatalities last year in Lorain County. These trainings offer a way to learn about the epidemic and ways to help others struggling with substance use disorder. Addiction is a medical disease that can affect anyone, and it is important for all of us to learn more about it and to remove the stigma surrounding it.
How To Get Started
Contact Jinx Mastney at (440) 434-5711 or JMastney@mharslc.org to request a training for your faith community, school, workplace, civic organization or other group.
Learn more about Overdose Lifeline Training Courses and how to connect HERE.Learn More
LORAIN, OHIO – The Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County welcomes to its Board of Directors Wellington Police Chief Tim Barfield, who was sworn in at the board’s monthly meeting on March 22. Barfield was appointed by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. His appointment fills all MHARS Board of Director vacancies.
“Chief Barfield brings a wealth of experience and insight to this position, especially as a law enforcement officer who has been on the front lines of the opioid epidemic,” said Michael Doud, Executive Director of the MHARS Board. “As our Board serves all of Lorain County, we appreciate having such an esteemed member of Wellington’s community join the MHARS Board of Directors.”
Barfield has been the Chief of Police in Wellington since 2014. Chief Barfield began his career in the Berlin Heights and Amherst police departments. He spent most of his career at the Maple Heights Police Department where he received a number of awards including two for valor. He is passionate about training police officers with a goal of helping them succeed.
Chief Barfield is a member of the Stepping Up Initiative of Lorain County and one of the designers of Wellington safety services Local Initiative to Network Compassion (LINC) program to assist those struggling with substance use disorder. He is a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, Chairman of the Board of the Law Enforcement Training Trust and President of the LINC. He is also a contributing writer to law enforcement publications, and continues to learn and instruct on subjects with an emphasis on awareness, leadership, mental health first aid and ethics. He earned his associate degree in political science from Lorain County Community College. A resident of Lagrange Township, Chief Barfield is a father and grandfather.
About the MHARS Board
The Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County brings together the expertise, resources and proud histories of the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County and the Lorain County Board of Mental Health. The people served by mental health and substance use disorder systems have a common goal – recovery. Consolidating the county’s addiction and mental health partners strengthens our ability to coordinate treatment and recovery services, which helps us improve the lives of our clients, their loved ones and the community. Our goal is to maximize delivery of these health services. It means providing the right care, in the right setting, at the right time. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram or connect with us on our website at www.mharslc.org.Learn More
Jeanette Hinkle works at the MHARS Board of Lorain County as the Claims and IT Coordinator.
Jeanette has over 21 years of experience in mental health claims, 14 of those years being at the MHARS Board. She spent seven years at the children’s agency in Lorain County. Before entering the mental health field, she has worked at a variety of places, including working as a civilian employee for the Army. Jeanette holds two associate degrees in the areas of Business and Computers.
Jeanette is a passionate advocate for mental health and addiction.
“Mental health is important to me as I know people who suffer with mental illness and were not receiving adequate help. Getting people connected to the proper services is extremely important for not only the person with the mental illness but the people close to them as well,” she said. “I love the fact that the MHARS Board is concerned not only about the job, but the staff as well. I enjoy helping people and here at the Board I am able to help many people.”Learn More