Warren County sees success battling heroin addiction

Posted at 5:25 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-29 10:14:25-04

LEBANON, Ohio -- In Warren County, officials think they have something that's working to combat the heroin epidemic.

Nathan Mitchell became addicted to heroin after he was in a crash. He was taking pills for the pain, and ended up taking heroin.

"You can't do anything without [heroin]. Your entire life and wellbeing revolves around it," Mitchell said. "That's a sad, troubling feeling."

Now Mitchell is one of more than 20 people in Warren County's drug court. Since officials started the treatment program more than three years ago, they've only had two people relapse.

"We're working with a group of people who struggle each week," Warren County Drug Court Judge Robert Peeler said. "But they're staying clean, they're staying sober. They're changing their lives. They're getting their lives back."

Before leaving the jail, addicts receive a shot of a drug called Vivitrol. It helps control their cravings for heroin.

After release, the recovering addicts are put on electronic monitoring. They also have to see counselors and attend meetings.

"Structure is key," Peeler said.

For Mitchell, he said it's been working so far.

"My motto is, 'I don't use no matter what,' and life tends to work out," Mitchell said.

Peeler said he thinks the program could make a difference in battling heroin addiction other places.

"I think the future is very promising," he said.