Agencies do Bridging Recovery event

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 21, 2023

Goal is to remove drugs, traffickers from the streets

PORTSMOUTH — The Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center, RecoveryOhio, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency joined nearly a dozen law enforcement and treatment agencies in Scioto County this week to conduct the state’s fifth coordinated drug/outreach saturation event.

The two-day Operation Bridging Recovery and Interdiction Data Gathering Enforcement event was aimed at removing drugs and drug traffickers from the streets as well as connecting individuals with substance use disorder to help and treatment. The enforcement surge combined the efforts of area drug task forces, law enforcement agencies, quick response teams and harm reduction and treatment providers for a comprehensive approach to the substance use crisis. Previous Operation BRIDGE events occurred in Lawrence, Richland, Fairfield and Ross counties.

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“Using a coordinated, comprehensive approach to drug interdiction and treatment outreach works, and the numbers prove it,” said Cynthia Peterman, ONIC executive director.  “Previous Operation BRIDGE events have resulted in a significant decrease in drug activity in the following weeks. Plus, information gathered by ONIC analysts and forensic personnel has helped build cases against drug traffickers.”

Law enforcement agencies fanned out across Scioto County to confiscate illegal drugs and to stop the couriers responsible for supplying drugs to the area. 

Quick Response Team personnel connected individuals in need of recovery support to services and treatment.

During Operation BRIDGE, law enforcement seized fentanyl, methamphetamine  and cocaine.

Officers made eight drug-related felony arrests and one non-drug-related misdemeanor arrest.

Two warrants were executed and one device was confiscated for digital forensic examination.

RecoveryOhio supported the mission by working with local agencies to have 227 naloxone kits on hand.  Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug (heroin, fentanyl, or prescription pain medications).  

To access naloxone, visit

“Substance use disorder is not something we can simply arrest our way out of,” said RecoveryOhio director Aimee Shadwick. “By connecting people with evidence-based treatment, we are providing resources and support to help them in their recovery so they can go on to live healthy, productive lives.”

Participating agencies included: Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, Portsmouth Police Department, Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Southern Ohio Drug Task Force, Southern Ohio Organized & Major Crimes Task Force, Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Scioto County Adult Probation and Lawrence County Drug/Major Crimes Quick Response Team.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order in July 2019 creating ONIC, a specialized criminal intelligence unit to assist local law enforcement in conducting intelligence-driven drug trafficking investigations. 

ONIC has locations in Cleveland, Columbus, southwest Ohio, and Toledo. ONIC’s criminal intelligence analysts and computer forensic specialists provide investigative, analytical, and digital forensic support to local law enforcement agencies and drug task forces throughout Ohio. 

The Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center is a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

Immediately after taking office in 2019, DeWine signed an executive order creating the RecoveryOhio initiative to support aggressive measures to combat the opiate epidemic by investing in the health and well-being of Ohio citizens.