Community Justice Event To Focus On Drug Treatment

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The Athens County Prosecutor's Office's newest public event will focus on a community approach to drug addiction and treatment.

Tuesday evening's "Community Justice Conversation," held at 5:30 at the Nelsonville Public Library, will allow community members to hear from those directly affected by drug addiction and the agencies and leaders that play into the treatment of addiction.

"It's important that we take on this problem as a community," Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said. "(Drug addiction) is taking away a generation and taking away their opportunity to make better lives for themselves."

The event comes after the prosecutor's office and local law enforcement donated funds to help start an outpatient program at Health Recovery Services to expand its drug treatment.

Blackburn said community discussions about drug addiction are even more important in Athens County, which has seen a recent run of indictments for drug trafficking. Most recently, former Detroit police officer Brandon Allen,  pleaded guilty to 12 counts including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and drug trafficking. Allen was charged with selling oxycodone to local dealers in Glouster and was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

The local dealers, including Derek Gyure, John Casey Metcalf, Bert C. Sharrer, Bert Sharrer, Jr., and Kendra Sharrer, have all entered guilty pleas as well and been sentenced.

"It makes a significant statement that we (the prosecutor's office and law enforcement) have stepped up, and I'm really grateful to have the relationship my office does with the leaders of (law enforcement) agencies," Blackburn said. "The community really wants to make a difference, too."

The event is the third event in a series of community justice conversations, the latest of which was in April and focused on the Property Crimes Task Force and community watch programs in the area

Tuesday's event will be presented in partnership with the Athens-Hocking-Vinton 317 Board.