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Oriana House Executive Faces Akron City Council After Drug Overdoses

photo of Oriana House
Clients who overdose are turned over to EMS and law enforcement.

Drug overdoses at Oriana House have led parents of clients to approach Akron City Council for help.

Oriana’s Executive Vice President Bernie Rochford appeared before a City Council joint committee meeting this week to answer questions about overdoses at the drug treatment facility, some of which were fatal.

He says unlike a jail, his organization is spread throughout the communities it serves in Ohio and gives clients a certain level of independence. This means it’s easier for clients to get drugs.

“There’s got to be some personal responsibility on the part of the clients. And if someone’s going to be willing to use in our facility, then they risk getting terminated, and that’s typically what happens,” said Rochford.

Rochford says his organization has taken action since the opiate crisis began to escalate five years ago. The staff has been trained in the use of naloxone. Drug-detecting equipment has been brought in, and some employees travel to other facilities to conduct searches and pat-downs.