Fresh Start Offered to Addicts

A local initiative is making sure the New Year could be a Fresh Start for those who suffer from addiction

On Saturday, two Athens County agencies are reaching out to addicts with an opportunity to begin treatment. Through the Fresh Start initiative, recovery options and resources will be shared in three locations throughout the county, but the effort is not limited to Athens County residents – anyone who needs help is encouraged to take advantage of this life-changing prospect.

“Families are losing too many of our loved ones because of the heroin and opioid epidemic, not only in Athens County, but statewide,” said Prosecutor Keller Blackburn. The purpose of the initiative is to offer assistance to those who need it. Blackburn said this is an opportunity to treat addictions and get a fresh start.

The Athens County Prosecutor’s Office along with Health Recovery Services will offer information this Saturday (Jan 2) in The Plains, Nelsonville, and Trimble. Blackburn said no one attending should fear arrest – the Fresh Start initiative will connect those who suffer from addiction with resources.

Blackburn says he is committed to changing the situation. Heroin and opioid addiction are primary causes of crime throughout the region. About 1 percent of the population suffer from an opioid addiction. It is a problem believed to impact everyone in one way or another.

“We will help anyone from anywhere,” Blackburn said.

Treatment opportunities, including enrollment in a Vivitrol program, will be offered at the library in The Plains from 10 am to noon, at Nelsonville-York High School from 12:30 to 2:30 pm, and at Trimble High School from 3 to 5 pm.

Blackburn explained that Vivitrol works by blocking receptors in the brain so addicts don’t feel cravings. It also prevents users from getting a high even if they do take opioids. However, addicts must be clean for ten days to receive an injection of Vivitrol.

About Callie J Lyons

Callie Lyons is an investigative journalist and author living in the Mid Ohio Valley. Her first book, Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal: The Hidden Dangers of C8, is available at and in hundreds of libraries all over the world. Known as a "warrior for public health", Lyons' environmental investigations have been featured in documentaries, including Good Neighbors - Bad Blood and Toxic Soup, on Swedish National Television and in numbers of television, radio and print media interviews. Her work has appeared on Nova's Whiz Kids and in Mother Jones magazine. More recently, a national audience has come to know her award-winning investigative work through the Environmental Working Group and interviews with leading publications like the Huffington Post and The Intercept. Lyons' work was featured in the 2017 documentary Parched:Toxic Waters by National Geographic. The Short, Fantastic Life of a Saloon Girl is Lyons' first published work of historical fiction.
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