“In the morning the inmates make their beds and the rest of the day, instead of sitting around, comparing criminal notes, they are in classes, General Education Development (GED), criminal addictive thinking class, prayer and meditation,” Quinones said.
He wrote the book “Dreamland,” which describes Portsmouth, Ohio, as the original crumbling community beset by the opioid crisis.
He recently spoke with a room full of attorneys at the Ohio State Bar Association.
The statistics are grim in Ohio, with 5,231 drug deaths in the 12 months ending last September. That’s an increase of 31 percent from the prior year, with 11 Ohioans dying, on average, every day.
Quinones said it’s a mistake just parking addicts in jails.
“It’s at that very moment when we put them into a traditional jail, which is predatory, boring beyond words, full of gangs, comparing criminal notes. It’s the antithesis of what we need. It’s at that very moment when we need to provide a step forward,” Quinones said.
That step forward, he said, is finding creative solutions to a problem that’s not going away.
He said creating task forces, building communities, and instilling people with a sense of togetherness is part of the solution.
While he admitted there is no silver bullet in solving the crisis, he said it’s time we get tough with parenting.
“Nobody is allowed to skin their knee in any way,” Quinones said. “We are always hovering. We are afraid something will happen, instead of letting them roll with the punches. It’s good to roll with the punches. Pain is a part of life.”
The author will be speaking to the Ohio Supreme Court’s Ohio Judicial College in September.