The heroin problem won't be swept under the rug in Dublin, city officials vow.

The heroin problem won't be swept under the rug in Dublin, city officials vow.

After a December town hall meeting about heroin, Dublin Division of Police officials are working with many others to continue to educate and fight the drug epidemic.

Dublin police last month partnered with agencies including the Ohio Attorney General's office, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office and the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office to let residents know heroin isn't just a problem in Columbus.

"It happens anywhere," Dublin Police Chief Heinz von Eckartsberg said last week.

"It happens in places like Dublin."

Many people aren't aware that prescription drug abuse often leads to heroin use.

Prescription drugs and heroin are in the opioid family and heroin is much cheaper than prescription drugs.

"It just doesn't jibe with the paradigm of what people think Dublin is," von Eckartsberg said.

Police, however, see the problem in both residents and property crime that occurs in Dublin.

"The property crime out there -- the thefts from vehicles and burglaries -- a lot of it is being committed because of drugs," von Eckartsberg said.

The Dec. 9 town hall meeting was the first step in the fight against heroin, but it won't stop there.

According to von Eckartsberg, a follow up community meeting is in the works for mid-February.

"It will be a resource meeting to give the community an idea of what resources are available," he said.

Syntero is one of the resources available in the community, offering treatment programs, support groups and counseling.

"We're taking action," said Julie Erwin Rinaldi, Syntero executive director.

"We're trying to develop additional programs to meet needs but also be proactive," she said.

"Syntero does tons of stuff in Dublin City Schools and we're working to find out how do we provide additional education and awareness for parents and young people from a more preventative standpoint."

Syntero recently started an intensive out-patient program for adults and teen addicted to drugs or alcohol and Rinaldi said many in the program suffer from opioid addiction.

Along with treatment for people who are addicted, Rinaldi said Syntero wants to offer program for family members who have lost loved ones to addiction.

"We're trying to look at this from a multi-pronged approach," she said.

"It's not just a treatment problem or a police issue or a school issue.

"We're looking at this from a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional way to tackle the problem in the community."

Rinaldi said she hopes the February community meeting will also be a step towards developing an action plan.

"A lot of people are reaching out wanting to get involved," said Lindsay Weisenauer, senior public information officer for Dublin. "We really just started the conversation."

Dublin has taken the conversation online with resources and education about things such as signs someone is using heroin or abusing prescription drugs.

"We'll keep adding to it," Weisenauer said, adding videos are forthcoming, including an interview with a Dublin man who is a recovering heroin addict.

"A big piece of this is education efforts," Weisenauer said.

Education will also come from the Dublin City School District, another entity involved in the local fight against heroin and prescription drug abuse.

"We're really blessed to be part of a community that addresses issues as we see them," said GeorgiAnn Diniaco, of Dublin City School's Safe and Drug Free School program and Teen Institute adviser.

"It was appreciated that instead of any one of us working alone, we came together."

Currently schools educate students for prevention, have support groups and mentoring for drug-free students and teach staff how to identify students with problems and how to deal with it.

In the future, Diniaco said she hopes to continue education and look into the best ways to fight this issue in the community.

"I think it's important for our community to understand we're at a time in our lives right now where collectively we need work together to save our young people," she said.

"If you're worried or concerned you need to break the barrier of silence so we can talk about what we have and help you put a plan together."

Education will also extend to current resources in the community such as the prescription drug drop box at the Dublin Justice Center.

Residents can drop off unused prescription drugs in the box at any time any day of the week.

But most of all, Dublin Community leaders said they want to make sure residents are educated and have somewhere to turn.

"The message is we don't want parents to be complacent," von Eckartsberg said. "This is not something that just happens somewhere else.

"We've seen what it does to families."

For more information, look online at dublinohiousa.gov/dublin-police/heroin-abuse-education-and-resources/.

Concerns about heroin or prescription drug abuse can be directed to Dublin Police by calling 614-889-1112 or through an online anonymous reporting system at dublinohiousa.gov/contact-us/contact-the-police/.