Man gets a chance at drug rehab

LISBON — An East Liverpool man who has a criminal record dating back at least two decades was given an opportunity at drug rehabilitation on Monday.

Larry O. Foster, 61, St. George Street, East Liverpool, appeared before Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike for sentencing on Monday.

Foster had made some comments on his way out of the courtroom during another hearing that he had never been given a chance at getting help for his addiction. He said he was surprised when he found out Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones was listening and was willing to give him that chance.

“I can’t make you any promises,” Foster said, “but I’ll give you this, I’ll give you 110 percent.”

Jones told Pike the last two times Foster has been picked up he had a crack pipe in his pocket, which shows a continuing drug problem.

“If he’s sincere and he makes the most of it, then perhaps we won’t continue to have this revolving door,” Jones said.

If Foster is unsuccessful in his six-month program at the Eastern Ohio Correctional Center, Jones said she recommends the maximum sentence for the two charges for which he was being sentenced — two counts of possession of drugs involving cocaine from December of 2013 and December of 2015.

Foster’s defense attorney, Kelly Linger, said Foster understands he is no longer a young man and wants a chance to spend more time with his family in the future. She said with the possibility of significant prison time over his head, Foster may be able to kick his drug habit.

Pike said he had to be talked into the intensive community control sanction, which he sentenced Foster to for five years. The first six months will be spent at the EOCC facility in Wintersville. Familiar with Foster from previous hearings, Pike warned him about doing everything he can to get the most out of the program where he is being sent.

“I don’t want to get any phone calls telling me Larry Foster thinks he’s running this place,” Pike warned. “Don’t embarrass me down there.”

Foster said he does not know if a drug rehabilitation program can help him, but at this point he wants a chance to try to get it done.