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Ohio’s Heroin Epidemic and its Implications on Family Law

The heroin epidemic in Ohio and across the rest of the United States has dominated headlines. It is an epidemic that is affecting not only low-income families, but also middle-class and upper-class families as well. It is particularly prevalent in Ohio, where attorney general Mike DeWine says you can get the drug anywhere in Ohio, within fifteen to twenty minutes.[1] It is often the drug that we see in many custody cases. One or both parents decide to use heroin, get addicted, and end up either having their children taken away by Children’s Services or having a family member take the children because they cannot care for them any longer. If Children’s Services and the Juvenile Division of the Prosecutor’s Office get involved with a family, often times it will result in an “Abuse, Neglect, or Dependency” case. In other instances, the process is called a “private” custody case, which means that a parent or another family member (“Petitioners”) may try to prove that the other parent or both parents are “unfit.” In both instances, the end result if the prosecutor or the petitioner succeeds, is a parent losing custody of their child.

However, a parent could always go back and petition the Court for custody of their child, if they can prove to the Court that there has been a change of circumstances, with the child or custodian of the child, and that a change of custody would be in the child’s best interests.

If you or your family are having issues such as these and need legal advice, please feel free to call our office and schedule a consultation.

[1] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/heroin-in-ohio-drug-epidemic-60-minutes/

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