Councilman looking to cutdown on drug abuse in Toledo

Cash strapped seniors are increasingly selling their unused pills as a way to make extra money. That's one of the problems Toledo City Councilman Jack Ford wants to address with his new initiatives

Toledo City Councilman Jack Ford and other northwest Ohio leaders introduced plans Wednesday afternoon to create a tougher enforcement on heroin and prescription drug abuse.

While abuse is believed to be on the rise, thereâ??s no hard numbers for city officials to cite regarding drug use in Toledo or Lucas County. It's become a problem Ford wants to fix.

He wants to require hospitals, health clinics and law enforcement agencies to report the number of drug cases they deal with each month to a central entity, such as the Lucas County Health Department. This will allow the city to compile the data and measure the extent of opiate drug abuse in the area.

Ford also wants to address the increase of poor senior citizens who have sold their legal prescriptions to make some money.

â??Sometimes if they get short for money, it dawns on them they can sell one of those little pills for 20 bucks. And we also know that at some of the housing authorities, thereâ??s an open market of such selling thatâ??s going on right now,â?? Ford said, who plans to bring up the problem with Housing Authority leaders in the coming months.

Other initiatives of Fordâ??s anti-drug program include forming an education program for seniors on the proper storage and disposal of unused prescription drugs; setting up a drug hotline that people can call that will offer monetary rewards for info leading to the prosecution of dealers of opiate drugs, including doctors who provide unwarranted prescriptions for painkillers; and establishing a government supported treatment facility using federal, state and city funds.

In order to initiate all of the new programs and make sure they run smoothly, Ford would also like to hire a consultant.

Fordâ??s plans are just a blueprint at this point, and thereâ??s no word on how much they would cost the city.

â??We got a problem, and if it increases, the money will be foundâ?¦Weâ??ve got to do a hell of a lot more,â?? according to Ford.

Ford and some of his fellow council members say this is an area that requires investment.