Lucas County forensic counselor in Washington to address opioid crisis

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Finding solutions to the opioid crisis is still a priority for communities across the United States. A panel of experts and lawmakers met in Washington for a town hall Wednesday night to address just that. Voices from around the country in one room, hoping to ramp up the fight.

Tamme Smith says we should be treating those suffering from addiction, not arresting them.

“It's important for us to actually educate the community, which these community forums actually do,” said Tamme Smith, a forensic counselor on the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office Drug Abuse Response Team (DART).

It's a mission Smith has been dedicated to for years. Smith was in Washington to participate in a National Town Hall - sharing what she’s learned as part of the Lucas County team.

“I want people to understand that we’ve got to do things differently. We need to do things new,” said Smith.

Different and new, she says, like community outreach. Smith says give treatment, don't arrest. She says combining the Lucas County team’s practices with the other ideas in the room is a great way to turn talk into action.

“It's going to take the whole entire community to actually address, you know, this addiction disease, you know, to make a difference,” said Smith.

Smith says she saw her own family struggle with addiction. She knows too well the toll addiction takes on families. Smith says she also knows that it takes this national conversation to help families dealing with addiction.

“This disease doesn't just affect, you know, individuals from inner cities or individuals from rural communities. It affects everybody,” said Smith.

One big take away for Smith is making sure Lucas County is properly utilizing what is called Casey’s Law. That allows family or friends to get court ordered, involuntary treatment for those suffering from addiction.