Wellsville gets another reminder of the plague of drug abuse

WELLSVILLE – On the eve of a community march against suspected drug abuse in the village, another example of the need for action presented itself, in the form of a drug overdose victim found in Independence Square.

Police responded to the housing complex on Commerce Street at 2:04 p.m., Friday after receiving a call regarding a woman found unconscious behind the wheel of a car with the engine running. The woman was slumped between the front seats of a white Chevrolet Cavalier, which was parked in a lot next to the complex utility shed.

Wellsville Police Chief Joseph Scarabino said officers were able to reach inside the car, shut the engine off and rouse the female back to consciousness. “Her speech was slurred and unsteady, her eyes were glazed,” he said. “There were obvious signs that she needed medical assistance, so we summoned an ambulance, and she went with them willingly.”

Police elected not to identify the woman, who was taken to East Liverpool City Hospital, but Scarabino did confirm that she is not a village resident.

Scarabino said that contraband, including drug paraphernalia and suspected drugs, were found in plain view inside the vehicle. The car was towed away, with the suspected narcotics found inside yet to be tested. Scarabino emphasized that after arriving at the scene, determining the condition of the victim and providing medical assistance were the priorities.

Scarabino said charges would be pending following investigation of the materials collected from inside the car, including possession of drug abuse paraphernalia, drug abuse instruments and suspected illicit drugs. “We’re going to make sure that we have everything analyzed first,” he said.

A resident of Independence Square said he had found the victim shortly before 2 p.m. Friday afternoon and called police. “It looked like she wasn’t breathing, but she was,” he said. He also said he had never seen her in the neighborhood before yesterday.

Afterward, neighbors in the complex spoke of other recent drug overdoses in the area. “It’s the third one in, what, a month? Two months, maybe?” one said. “It’s killing everybody,” said another.