Garrettsville – On Monday night over sixteen concerned Portage County residents gathered for the first of many community meetings with the Portage County Drug Task Force. Led by Village Councilwoman Becky Harrington the meeting was a “barebones” version of the presentation delivered at a special meeting in Nelson Township on April 10th (coverage on page 6 in this week’s Villager). The evening’s meeting was the starting point for the establishment of a community group focused on coming together to address the growing epidemic of drug use in the area.

Looking at numbers alone, drug use and related crimes are on the rise in Portage County. Over 180 narcotic related arrests were made in 2013; 1 in 10 families will lose a family member to heroin overdose; 1 in 3 families will be victims of drug related crime (break-ins, theft, vandalism); Portage County is currently ranked #2 in the State for Methamphetamine.

Members of the Drug Task Force plan to return with a full presentation for the James A. Garfield High School Student Leadership (16 students representing grades 9-12) and concerned area residents. The presentation which has been described as “disturbing” and “eye-opening” was requested by GHS students out of a desire to keep illicit substances out of their community.

Residents of Garrettsville and the surrounding communities are strongly urged to attend the meeting on Wednesday, April 30th at 6:30PM. The meeting will be held at Iva L. Walker Auditorium inside of Garfield High School 10233 SR 88 Garrettsville.