During the 2013-14 school year, Judge Michael Astrab will host a series of “Heroin in the Suburbs” forums. A town hall for Solon, Glenwillow and Chagrin Falls will take place at the Solon Community Center on Thursday, October 24 at 7 PM.
Astrab, a Solon High School graduate, has seen too many heroin cases in his courtroom. The majority of heroin cases involve young suburbanites.
“Make no mistake, it’s an epidemic,” Astrab said. “I can do what I can as a judge from the bench, but by the time a user gets to my courtroom, it’s often too late. As a community, we need to do more to prevent people from using heroin in the first place.”
Astrab’s goal is to help raise awareness of the heroin epidemic, and inform parents how to keep their families safe.
The panel at the Solon forum will include Dr. Joan Papp, Vince Caraffi of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and defense attorney David Kraus,plus representatives from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and the Solon Police Department.
According to the medical examiner, heroin killed 161 people in Cuyahoga County last year. The majority of those deaths were in the suburbs.
“This is an epidemic. For anyone to suggest otherwise,” Astrab said, “is naive.”
“Everyone involved in these forums has one goal – prevent at least one person from being hurt by heroin,” Astrab said. “If we can do that, this effort will absolutely be worth it.”
At the Solon forum, Astrab will lead a panel discussion, then take questions from the audience. All Solon, Chagrin Falls and Glenwillow residents – especially parents and students – are encouraged to attend.
Astrab has 2013 forums scheduled in Westlake, Broadview Heights, Cleveland Heights and Parma. He is in the process of setting up hearings in 2014 for Lakewood, North Olmsted, Beachwood, Mayfield, Strongsville and Pepper Pike.
Astrab chose to start the series in Solon because he is a 1989 graduate of Solon High School. The date of the forum was selected to coincide with “Red Ribbon Week.”
For more information, follow Judge Astrab on Twitter @judgeastrab. To RSVP to attend the forum on Facebook, search for “Solon: Heroin in the Suburbs.”