Special delivery: Restaurants help get anti-heroin message out

By Jason Hawk - jhawk@civitasmedia.com

If you’ve ordered a pizza in the past week, you’ve probably seen them — stickers tackling the dangers of the heroin epidemic raking Ohio.

They’re on box tops at Olde Town Pizza, Marco’s, and Domino’s. They’re being handed out at Arabica, Your Deli, and Ziggy’s Pub.

“It’s an epidemic. It affects many families, a lot of good families,” Olde Town owner Darrell McCarty said of the deadly heroin problem. “It’s just so sad. Anything that we could do to get information out there, make people think, and people who need help can get help.”

The stickers come from the Amherst Community Task Force, formed in late 2013 after the overdose death of a Steele High School graduate.

The task force used fundraising proceeds from the past two years to print 5,000 stickers.

Each bears the LIDS message — the acronym stands for (L)ock up meds and alcohol, (I)t can happen in any family, (D)ispose of unused meds, and (S)igns: Recognize them.

While Amherst sees dozens of overdoses each year, some fatal, few people realize how pervasive the heroin problem is, said task force president Darren Conley.

He said Lorain County has about 500 active addicts, many living in small, suburban, bedroom communities.

“A lot of times people associate drug addiction with the inner-city,” he said. “This is an equal opportunity issue that is happening in neighborhoods regardless of two-parent households, regardless of median income, regardless of those factors we usually associate with drug use.”

So far the stickers are making a difference, he believes, and the Amherst Community Task Force is looking for sponsor organizations to help pay for more to be made.

The nonprofit is also planning to give away stickers with free microwave popcorn bags as Halloween nears, setting up roadside displays in Amherst neighborhoods.

“As parents and kids walk by, we’ll drop them in kids’ bags. But of course we’ll want to engage the adults in a conversation,” Conley said.

The task force meets at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at Arabica, 254 Park Ave. The public is welcome.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk