Your Voice Ohio: The Opioid Epidemic
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKRC) -- Meetings are being held around the state to discuss the causes of the heroin epidemic and how it can be addressed.
The meetings are called “Your Voice Ohio”. Participants are asked to sit at tables with other people and answer questions about the heroin epidemic that include: "What do you think the opioid epidemic looks like?” and “What do you see as the causes?”
"Listen to people deeply. Respect their positions, respect where they're coming from,” moderator Andrew Rockway told the group. Rockway works for Jefferson Center, an organization that works to find solutions to complex problems.
Reporters also take part in the conversations in an effort to get a better understanding of the issues while reporting on them for different communities.
A meeting was held in Middletown Monday night where participants believed childhood trauma was a contributing factor to the heroin epidemic in that community.
“Families are too busy. They don't notice the signs. I was one of those,” said Tony Revilla, whose son died of a heroin overdose in 2016.
Revilla has launched an online petition to make changes.
"I'm asking for harsher penalties for heroin traffickers and dealers especially when it ends in death,” Revilla Sid.
Middletown has seen too many people overdose from heroin and other opioids. Residents and city officials have worked together to address the crisis.There's a heroin response team that visits people who've overdosed to offer help getting into treatment.
"I don't think an addict woke up one morning and said I want to be an addict,” said one participant.
Your Voice Ohio is about having a real conversation with people who have different experiences.
"It's not experts talking at people it's really everybody bringing their own experience and talking about what they're feeling and experiencing,” Rockway said.