Greg interviews John Tharp, a sheriff in Lucas County, Ohio, responsible for launching the Drug Abuse Response Team (D.A.R.T.). Founded in 2014, the D.A.R.T. program aims to make a difference in the opioid epidemic in Western Ohio by aiding in the treatment, education, and support of those suffering from substance abuse, as well as their family and friends.
Greg asks Sheriff Tharp about the challenge of bringing in support from the families of those struggling with addiction when many of them have burnt bridges. Sheriff Tharp explains that though many substance abusers have injured familial ties with their addiction, many families still love them and simply want them to get better. “People that have burnt bridges with their mothers, their fathers, their sisters, their brothers, their wives, or husbands – those people still love them… and they want the best for their family.” However, Tharp also remarks that not every family feels similarly – some want to cut ties completely. “There are families that are thinking that [the] entire family would be better off if that person was dead…They’ve stolen from them, they’ve ripped them off, they’ve done so much… so many families have washed their hands of the family member that is addicted.” Still, as Sheriff Tharp shares, there’s always a chance, “when we approach the family, and talk to [them], we tell them what we are doing with their loved one and how we can help. We can just see the eyes in the faces… that something’s come to them. How lucky they are to have somebody to be able to step up [and] help their loved ones. So then we build this relationship back again.”
Listen to the podcast to discover how D.A.R.T. moves beyond the family and into the community to further education and support for those hurt by addiction.