Trustees continue fight against drugs

With an increase of drug abuse in the area and a seminar scheduled to take place next week, St. Clair Township trustees and police continued brainstorming for ways to get the word out further during Tuesday’s meeting.

Trustees and Police Chief Donald Hyatt continued the discussion from previous meetings of combatting drug abuse, as it prepares for its upcoming adult drug education seminar, Operation: Street Smart, which will take place from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Beaver Local K-12 campus on Bell School Road.

The seminar will feature several tables which include information regarding treatment and counseling centers, law enforcement agencies, ambulance companies and other information from both Columbiana and Mahoning counties, with a wide variety of drugs to be discussed. The event is free and open to the public.

“I would just encourage the entire community to participate,” Hyatt said.

Staying on the topic of drug prevention, Trustee Chairman James Sabatini said he and Hyatt attended a Southern Columbiana County Chamber of Commerce meeting, to which Sabatini said wanted to become involved in the drug-prevention efforts.

While Hyatt acknowledged that the ideas the chamber came up with were good, he also noted that those ideas involve expense, and added that some programs can be cheaper to handle.

“Some things that we want to do, you don’t need piles of money, like this program (the Beaver Local seminar) that we’re doing, it’s free,” Hyatt said.

Sabatini also suggested having peer programs for the students, stressing the importance of teaching students at a young age, while Hyatt also noted that programs which involved recovering drug addicts have also been successful and have hit home just as much.

Trustee Robert Swickard commented that he recently attended a seminar in the Youngstown area similar to what will be presented next week, and noted he was stunned from the information provided.

“In the 35 years of EMS that I’ve been in, I’ve seen a lot of stuff,” Swickard said. “I never say I’ve seen it all, but I’ve seen a lot, and let me tell you, even my eyes were opened up wide to that.”

Swickard also commented on stories that have come out in which medical emergencies have taken place in cars as of late. Swickard–a longtime paramedic and current director of operations at Lifeteam EMS–advised the public to be careful about reporting medical emergencies in vehicles, saying that not all medical emergencies involve drug usage.

“You can’t pick up a paper without reading some medical event that happened in a car, and I’m afraid that everybody’s automatically assuming that it is drug-related,” Swickard said.

“There are a lot of reasons why people have medical emergencies and it just happens to be in a car whether it be from a seizure, whether it be from diabetes or any number of things. When you’re reading through, just don’t automatically assume that every time there’s a medical emergency in a car, whether it be in a parking lot or alongside the road, that it’s automatically drug related. That may put a bad light on something that was not necessarily was.”

Hyatt said the state attorney general’s office will also look to develop more programs and places for police departments to participate.

Meanwhile, drug activity was reported on the rise in the township as indicated in the police department’s September activity report, which was also presented during the meeting.

Based on the statistics provided, seven drug activity reports were taken last month, marking the highest number of reports for that particular activity for one month so far this calendar year. Furthermore, more drug-related cases were reported in the township in September than the prior three months combined, with three cases each logged in June and July, and none reported in August.

As for the rest of the monthly report, a combined total of 205 reports were filed in September.

Among the highest numbers logged by the department were 89 total incident reports, 55 arrests, 34 traffic citations, 27 traffic crash reports and 12 incidents/documentations. With the exception of incidents/documentations which held steady, police reported a decrease of each of the above activities from the month before.

The monthly report also saw seven traffic stops; six vandalisms; five investigating disturbances; four public assistances; three reports each of identity theft and juvenile problems; two reports each of assault, body, domestic, harassment, investigation, removal requests and warrant service; and one each of ambulance, burglary, checking one/group, driving under the influence, fighting, fire department, lost item, menacing, mental subject, noise complaint and suspicious activity.

The September count is a decrease from August’s count of 233. It also marks the lowest activity count for a single month since March–which was reported at 212–and the third lowest month so far in the 2016 calendar year.

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