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Heroin summit in New Richmond for concerned business leaders
NEW RICHMOND, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- Officials from the Ohio attorney general's office were in New Richmond Thursday evening offering advice to community and business leaders on how they can help themselves deal with a growing heroin crisis in their tiny riverfront village.
Since Local 12 first broke the story about how bold the heroin dealers have become in the community and how overwhelmed law enforcement was trying to deal with it, there was a lot of powerful response. Drug dealers are like cockroaches. One of the best weapons the business owners have would be to make the cockroaches feel uncomfortable.
Christina Rreissig opened her River Village shop on Front Street in New Richmond about a year ago. Her large front window gives her a unique view on the world just outside.
Reissig told Local 12, "I'm seeing bicycles with hand offs of drugs and I'm seeing pushers back and forth on the street. And I'm seeing mothers actually being pushers walking with their children with their assistance. Watching what they're doing, doing these drug deals."
As vice president of the business owners association, Reissig knew residents and business owners in the quaint river village have been working hard over the last few years to stimulate business and clean up things. But their new heroin battlefront was one that's caught them by surprise. Most people couldn't imagine the ugly undercurrent but Reissig said shoppers were actually being scared off by the drug dealers they see on the streets.
"You can see them pull off to the side and shoot up right there on our streets or in a car right in front of our establishments," Reissig said.
One new business in town also has people concerned. A drug and alcohol rehab center was quietly set up shop on the edge of the village. Admittedly overwhelmed by heroin cases and small time dealers, New Richmond police Chief Randy Harvey's asked for help from the attorney general's office. He clearly understood the concerns of the business owners.
Candidly Harvey told Local 12, "They're trying to operate businesses and they're having to watch hand to hand deals. And these things are taking place right under their nose. I see it myself, I watch it on a daily basis. Illegal drugs, heroin being delivered from building to building and yet there's nothing I can do about it for the most part."
It was not that Chief Harvey didn't want to make a case on the drug dealers, it was that the courts and prosecutors were so overwhelmed with drug related cases the smaller ones never go anywhere. And the bad guys know it. No one was exactly sure what the big picture answer could be and that was why they were looking to the attorney general.
Thursday's meeting with experts from attorney general Mike DeWine's office begins at 6 o'clock. It's being held in the old Market Street School building in New Richmond.
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