KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – While several members of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office were answering questions and offering help for its Hammer and Hope program, other members of the agency were less than …
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – While several members of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office were answering questions and offering help for its Hammer and Hope program, other members of the agency were less than eight miles away, preparing to round up two people on drug charges.
Hammer and Hope is designed to help families affected by opioid abuse, as well as addicts. Families are given information that guides them to programs and financial help to work through damage created by addictions.
At the same time, members of the sheriff’s office, Clay County Fire Rescue, Florida Poison Control Centers, healthcare, abuse and social services agencies were at the First Baptist Church of Keystone Heights providing much-needed services to a community that too often struggles with drug problems.
Narcan was given away to help victims during an overdose. Also, point control gave away heavy-duty lock bags to safely keep drugs from getting into the wrong hands. A counselor with Children’s Services appropriately described the six-hour-long program, saying, “Just come by. We’ll have a talk and point you in the right direction.”
One deputy said several residents got the information they desperately needed to fight addiction. He said the agency didn’t get track of how many visited because it was more important for residents to feel comfortable in looking for answers.
FRESH Ministries offered free counseling for drug abuse prevention and employment programs.
One of the organizations that deal directly with addictions and alcoholism, the Mission of the Dirt Road had a variety of resources for the Keystone Heights area.
In all, there were 27 vendors.
“The Hammer and Hope” is a deal where we put people in jail if they are dealing drugs,” said CCSO Sheriff Michelle Cook. “But it’s also here to help if your family needs help. We will help you. I promise you if you are struggling there is somebody here who can help you or point you in the right direction.”
Two residents felt the hammer side of the program. The arrests were done in conjunction with the services offered at the church.
Hammer and Hope started at 10 a.m. Within three hours, two people already were on their way to jail as part of the program.
Johnathan Joseph Brooker, 31, of Keystone Heights, was arrested shortly before noon and charged with the sale and delivery of a controlled substance.
Paige Elizabeth Patterson, 26, of Melrose, was arrested on March 21 at 1:05 p.m. on an outstanding warrant for possessing a controlled substance and selling fentanyl.
So far, the sheriff’s office has seized 31 pounds of illegal drugs and made more than 150 drug-related arrests.
For more information, or to get help, call (904) 264-6512.
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