Neighborhood group discussion on opioid crisis prompted by killing of local doctor

NOW: Neighborhood group discussion on opioid crisis prompted by killing of local doctor

SOUTH BEND, Ind -- The Howard Park/ East Bank Neighborhood Association gathered Monday night to discuss the dangers of drugs with local investigators and community leaders.

“Growing up in St. Joseph County I didn’t even realize there was a drug issue,” says resident Beth Green.

To Green and many others in the Howard Park/ East Bank Neighborhood Association, it’s an issue that has become more apparent recently. One of their members, Dr. Todd Graham, was shot and killed because he would not prescribe opioids to a patient.

“Because of what happened to Dr. Graham frankly I think all of us realized we can’t do this along and we need to work together,” says Ken Cotter, St. Joseph County Prosecutor

Cotter was joined for the meeting Commander Dave Wells of the St. Joseph County Drug Investigation Unit.

“Heroin makes up about 9% of our overdose deaths that we investigate. It has become apparent that opioids, legally prescribed opioids is predemoniatly killing people in our community,” says Wells.

And joined by Commander Tim Corbett of Metro Homicide, who has handled over 500 homicides.

“Pretty much everybody that we deal with in some form have some kind of drug background in it. So there is no pretty drug deal, there is no legal drug deal, there’s nothing sexy about it. It kills people one way or another,” says Corbett.

They discussed the need for more detox facilities in the area. The experts suggesting residents consider carrying narcan, and get rid of unused medications at prescription drop off locations.

"We aren’t just an island in ourselves. We have to depend on each other to get through it and this is part of that process,” says Green.

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