(FOX19) - Butler County is looking for heroin addicts - not to arrest them, but to help fight back against this epidemic gripping the Tri-State.
Prosecutor Mike Gmoser is asking for 50 addicts, or recovering addicts, of all ages and walks of life to meet with him on a volunteer basis to help solve the problem. So far, the response has been an overwhelming one. As of Sunday, Gmoser's office has fielded 63 calls.
"It's been one of the roughest eight days of my life," said Ryan Bellamah, a recovering addict.
The last eight days are a feeling Bellamah hasn't known for years. He's finally clean, sober and is set to enter a local treatment facility soon to help him stay clean and continue his sobriety.
"I've been using heroin for over three years now. It's completely ruined my life," said Bellamah.
He knows the drug is at epidemic levels in the Tri-State and so does Butler County prosecutor Mike Gmoser.
Of the cases he handles, he says 85 percent of them involve drugs. That drug is mostly heroin.
"This is an epidemic. When you talk about an epidemic, it's got to be something that's got to be at the front of the list, not at the back of the list," said Gmoser.
That's why he wants to get to the root of the problem.
"I know they're going to want to talk about how to get out of it. I'll give as much guidance as I can there. But really, I need to know how they got into it," Gmoser said.
It might sound like an unusual approach - enlisting the help of those who've used the drug to come up with an answer on how to fight it.
"I want to know what the last thought was, the last sober thought they had before they stuck that needle in their arm. I want to know
"What they were thinking? Was it because of peer pressure? Was it because of a relative? Was it because of a sibling," Gmoser asks.
Bellamah is going to give Gmoser that answer. It's not only for himself or his young daughter, but also the countless people he knows who are shooting up.
"I just want them all to get help before they die. That's the bottom line. It's the sad truth. Everybody's going to end up dead from the drug eventually," Bellamah told FOX19.
Gmoser plans to eventually take the personal stories and information he learns to students at local schools to hopefully educate them and keep them from using.
If you're interested in participating, call 1-888-662-3673 for more information. Anyone who meets with him can stay anonymous.