Ottawa County drug battle reflected in couple's fight for sobriety

When Jeff Schill and Angela Trimble were using heroin together, they'd make elaborate plans of what they'd do when they got clean.

There'd be moments of clarity for the couple where they wondered what they were doing to their son, as the then-elementary school-age boy witnessed their drug binges and saw Schill overdose once while Trimble struggled to revive him.

Ottawa County hit its peak in drug overdose deaths in 2016, one year after Schill and Trimble found different ways to quit drugs and start their own recoveries.

"We love our son. It's just the addiction was so intense, it's hard to think about now," Trimble, 39, said. "I had to find myself again."

Schill's journey mirrors Ottawa County's decades-long struggles to keep illegal drugs at bay and provide treatment options and hope to residents hooked on, at various times, cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamines.

The county's overdose deaths, barring a late surge in November and December, are on track to decline for a second straight year.

It doesn't mean addiction related-crimes have eased up.

Judy Flood, the county’s chief probation officer, said her office’s caseload has tripled since 2016.

About 80 percent of the cases on Ottawa County Common Pleas Court Judge Bruce Winters' docket are drug-related, including cases involving possession, theft and burglary.

For a county with a little more than 40,000 residents, it hasn't always been easy to find resources for addiction recovery.

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