When the Addicted Sheriff Goes to Jail
Anyone who still needs proof that addiction can happen to anyone has to look no further than the addicted sheriff. No, not because he lost his job, served four years in prison and is now helping other addicts reclaim their lives (though there is that). But because the former Ohio county sheriff was perhaps the last person on earth one would expect to run afoul of drugs.
But run afoul of drugs he did. Big time. He also ran afoul of the law. The very law he was elected to enforce.
Actually, he ran afoul of many laws. And in the end he pleaded guilty to thirteen felonies and one misdemeanor. Those included deceiving doctors to obtain prescription pain medication, stealing drug take-back boxes from local police departments and misusing public funds.
Just who is this addicted sheriff? Former Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer. And he’s now vowed to be everything he was meant to be from the beginning. That is, a dedicated servant of the people.
The Pain & the Pressures
It’s hard to say whether ex-Sheriff Overmyer’s addiction was exacerbated by the pain of his severe arthritis or the pressures of being the youngest county sheriff in the state. What isn’t hard to say is that his addiction was extremely exacerbated by both. It also “ran rampant.”
In fact, Fremont News-Register ace Craig Shoup reports Overmyer “was prescribed nearly 2,000 pills between August 2013 and February 2015.” Who knows how many painkillers he managed to land without a prescription.
“He would use back injuries or whatever he could in order to get his fix,” wrote Shoup. “Once he was cut off from his prescription, Overmyer would [also] seek medication from the Sandusky County Jail doctor.”
When those two wells dried up, “Overmyer resorted to taking pills from [various] drug take-back boxes. He did so under the guise of assisting the Drug Enforcement Administration; saying he was collecting the pills on their behalf.”
As you undoubtedly suspect, then-Sheriff Overmyer “was lying.”
The Fall of the Addicted Sheriff
Swiping drug take-back boxes was of course an egregious affront to the Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office, the community he was sworn to protect and serve, as well as to the municipal police departments from whom he stole. It actually may have been an even bigger affront to those local police chiefs, because it was they who blew the lid on Overmyer.
In fact, the police chiefs’ suspicions got the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation on the case. The BCI investigation, in turn, sparked a grand jury convening. Then the grand jury returned with a 43-count indictment against the addicted sheriff.
“Allegations included Overmyer’s doctor-shopping to obtain regular prescriptions of pain medication,” writes Shoup. It also included misusing the sheriff’s furtherance of justice account “to pay for meals, trips, a family vacation to Nashville and to run his unsuccessful re-election campaign,” claimed special prosecutor Carol Hamilton O’Brien.
Overmyer pleaded guilty in November 2016 to 13 felony counts. The next month he was sentenced to four years in prison.
A New Lease on Life
Overmyer’s story certainly proves the old adage about addiction. Let’s hope it’ll also help folks believe the old adage. After all, Overmyer wasn’t just a clean cut Sandusky County Sheriff; he was also the son of a Sandusky County Sheriff. And if someone with that kind of pedigree can get addicted, well, then anyone can.
But it is of course what that addict does after the fall which is most important. For this once addicted sheriff, that means helping others beat their own addictions. In fact, Overmyer tells WBNS-10TV anchor Andrew Kinsey that he wakes each day raring to do just that.
“I’m not waking up every morning wanting to take those pills,” he said. “I’m waking up every morning wanting to help somebody.”
To that end Overmyer now handles community outreach for the Recovery Institute of Ohio. He’s also providing motivational speaking through his own Knock Out Addiction.
Overmyer told Kinsey that “he has no desire to get back into law enforcement, but would not rule out getting into public office to help with prison reform.”
Right now though, it’s the proverbial one day at a time. And he’s doing those days in Fremont, the very seat of the county in which he once presided.
“What better place than where people had given me so much,” Overmyer told Shoup. “It’s my turn to give back.”
And to be gifted in return.
“You’re not only helping them,” he added, “but they’re helping you.”
The Risen Advocate
Healing Properties salutes Eric Overmyer for finding the strength to pull through. Regaining one’s feet after such a hard fall would be an incredible accomplishment for anyone; for a former lawman, it’s nearly Herculean. To see him devoting his time to others now that he’s done so makes it all the more impressive.
Of course such great good opportunities likely wouldn’t have arisen without Nate Kehlmeier and the Recovery Institute of Ohio. Stepping up on behalf of the embattled ex-Sheriff was beyond commendable. It’s also the kind of courageous move others would do well to echo. We wholeheartedly salute the RIO CEO, and applaud his enlightened moves. We also extend to him a heaping helping of gratitude.
Great good thanks is also due to both Craig Shoup at the Fremont News-Messenger and Andrew Kinsey at WBNS-10TV. It was their keen coverage which gave us the goods on Overmyer and his story. That, in turn, permitted us to spread the encouraging words even further. And for all that we extend our deepest gratitude.
How about you? Are you battling addiction? Have you done some things you’d rather you hadn’t? Are you still doing those things? There’s help you know. For everyone. And it’s only a phone call away. So please. If you’re hurting. Make the call. It could be the call that saves your life.