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Local police chief takes heroin war personally

Posted at 3:12 AM, Sep 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-29 03:12:10-04

CINCINNATI – Tom Synan joined the war on heroin because he's a local police chief and one of the leaders of the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition, but it's personal for him, too.

The Newtown chief has seen two heroin deaths in his small town. One was a long-time friend who had been revived once with Narcan. 

His friend just could not escape heroin's grip.

"My officers are trying to beg him to get into treatment and here's a person sitting, crying across from the officers saying, 'I don't want to die. Please don't let me die.' Then, within 24 hours, he's dead," Synan recalled.

That man's girlfriend died a few weeks later.

Synan and other coalition leaders revealed their Strategic Action Plan to combat the region's heroin and opiate epidemic on Monday. It's a coordinated, collaborative effort that gives more tools to law enforcement, creates more treatment options and has an educational component to prevent people from using drugs in the first place.

"This gives us the best chance and the best hope of making an impact on heroin and opiates in our community," Synan said.

READ the Strategic Action Plan here or below.

Jessi May hopes so. She's a heroin addict on the road to recovery and wants others to follow her lead.  May knows the power of opiates -- the empty feeling that comes from being desperate.

Her addiction landed her in jail.

"It was horrible. I'd go to any extent to get what I needed to not have that withdrawal feeling," May said.

She didn't care about anything but drugs -- not  friends,  not family.

"Whatever I could do, taking 10-15 pills at a time to try to catch that high again. Stole from my job. Called in prescriptions."

But her jail time led to First Step Home Program and a path toward recovery.

"Just the fact of being sober and missing everything. I wanted to be back and have that life again. So, I asked the judge to send me to a treatment program," May said.

She vowed to see it through.

"I'm going to do whatever I can to make it through this, that I'm sorry and that they'll forgive me and support me," she said.

SEE WCPO's complete coverage: Heroin In The Tri-State