EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – On Friday, Operation BRIDGE helped close the gap in East Liverpool. It connected people to state and local agencies that help with poverty and addiction.
Sheriff Brian McLaughlin, the Columbiana County Prosecutor’s Office and several local agencies were all part of Operation BRIDGE at Grace City Church in East Liverpool.
It’s an effort led by the Ohio Department of Public Safety to help those struggling with homelessness or drug addiction.
Sheriff McLaughlin says it’s important to not just address how people are getting drugs, but also the health issues surrounding addiction.
“We are not a supply area, we are a demand area. So being able to do the outreach and be able to hit those people there and point them to services that can help them be able to overcome that addiction is very important,” he said.
Agencies provided health care resources, naloxone and mental health resources while the church provided hot meals. Over two days, the event provided over 190 naloxone kits and 150 hygiene kits. It also reached over 850 people through about 40 agencies.
“If you need help, please reach out. We will get you pointed to an appropriate service for you,” Sheriff McLaughlin said.
Lisa Smith is the co-pastor of Grace City Church and regularly does outreach with those in East Liverpool. She says many they minister to struggle with addiction and mental health problems.
“It makes life a lot more challenging and most of them are secluding themselves and they feel like they’re alone. So we just play this really super small part of trying to build a friendship and trying to help connect them with other resources that are in our community,” Smith said.
Though the Operation BRIDGE event is over, Smith says they’ll continue to connect people with resources in the community.