Rich Turner, chairman of the board of Samaritan Works, addressed the Sidney Kiwanis Club during a recent meeting.
Samaritan Works is a Sidney, Christ-centered organization committed to sustaining recovery for men and women affected by substance abuse. It operates two houses that provide sober living homes: the Serenity House for men and the Amelia House for women.
Turner said that 170 individuals have been treated with NARCAN in 2016. In addition, 260 people have been indicted by the grand jury on drug charges. Ten deaths have been linked to fentanyl.
“Someone in downtown Sidney could score a hit of heroin quicker than someone driving out to Wal-Mart to buy a gallon of milk,” he said.
Turner introduced Executive Director Jeremy Morris and Administrative Assistant Merricle Herzog. Morris is a former law enforcement officer and has been the director for about two years. He said that drugs are in the school system and in every facet of life. Drug abuse knows no boundary of age, wealth, race or social status.
The two homes have strict daily structure and focus on solutions. They have a zero-tolerance policy and clients are held accountable for their actions. Addicts themselves must be ready and want to get their lives together, Turner said.
During another recent meeting, Beth Weigandt, of Fairlawn High School, daughter of Jason and Gwen Weigandt, was named Teen of the Month. She was given a plaque and a check for $100. She is the president of the FFA chapter at Fairlawn, president of the National Honor Society and a member of 4-H.