Opiate use puts four behind bars
By Jane Beathard
Madison County Common Pleas Judge Robert D. Nichols jailed two London residents and sent two more to prison on Friday for violating terms of their community control sentences by testing positive for opiate use.
A series of scenes in the courtroom illustrated the extent of Madison County’s drug problem as defendants wrestle with addictions to heroin and prescription painkillers, while local resources for treating addicts grow more limited.
Nichols sentenced Nicholas Herriott, 30, 263 Bowman Ct., Apt. C, to a year in prison for a community control violation that came just a week after the man was sentenced.
Herriott was placed on a year of community control on July 26 for possessing Oxycodone and cocaine during a Feb. 2 traffic stop on U.S. 40. On Aug. 2, he tested positive for Percocet during a routine screening by the court’s probation department. Herriott initially used a prosthetic male organ — a “Whizzinator” — and fake urine to dodge the test. However, chief probation officer Mike Creamer grew suspicious and thwarted the scam attempt.
Herriott admitted on Friday that he was unable to shake his drug habit, despite previous assurances that he had “turned a corner.”
“You never turned that corner,” Nichols told Herriott.
Nichols also handed Marlene Oren, 36, 208 S. Walnut St., a six-month prison sentence, after the woman tested positive on Friday for Suboxone, a synthetic heroin, and Buprenorphine. Suboxone also turned up in her system during a random July 13 drug screen.
Nichols said he would not oppose the woman’s early release from prison.
Oren was sentenced to a year of community control in May for receiving stolen property in December. Since then, she was also convicted of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
She appeared surprised as deputies snapped on handcuffs and led her away.
“I want another chance,” Oren told Nichols.
Oren’s husband, Chris, was ordered from the courtroom after he protested his wife’s prison sentence.
Also on Friday, Nichols ordered Brittany Moore, 25, and husband Weston, 27, both of 76 1/2 E. Lincoln Ave., jailed at Tri-County, after both tested positive for marijuana and opiates.
The Moores, who have five children, were sentenced in November 2011 to two years of community control for a series of metal thefts that fueled their drug use.
Mrs. Moore tested positive for morphine on July 11. On Friday, she tested positive for marijuana, opiates and Suboxone. Mr. Moore tested positive for morphine on July 12. Marijuana and heroin turned up in his system on Friday.
Both Moores said their attempts to enroll in local treatment programs were delayed by paperwork and waiting lists. In the meantime, they continued to use illegal drugs.
“You didn’t enter any program until this week,” Nichols told Mrs. Moore. “Your drug abuse indicates an unwillingness or inability to address your problem.”
Mr. Moore objected as deputies led him away.
“I couldn’t get into treatment immediately,” he told Nichols.
The couple will remain behind bars until the probation department can determine the sincerity of their attempts to seek treatment.
If Friday’s court docket held a bright spot, it was Alexander Gessel, 21, 2800 Arbuckle Rd., London. Gessel was allowed drug treatment instead of conviction for possessing heroin on Jan. 26, despite objections by the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office.
Assessment by Madison County Mental Health showed Gessel a good candidate for a treatment program.
Defense attorney Thomas Arrington said all Gessel’s recent drug screens, including Friday’s, were negative and his client continues to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
Gessel told counselors he smoked $50 to $100 in heroin daily until May, but has been drug free since.
Accusations that Gessel recently violated his house arrest and pawned items at a Columbus shop were not proven by the prosecutor’s office.