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Rural drug epidemic at heart of alumnusí campaign platform
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Matthew Crall ’02 has been prosecuting criminals for nearly a decade in his hometown of Bucyrus, Ohio, nestled in one of the state’s worst areas for drug-related problems: Crawford County.
Crall, law director and city prosecutor in Bucyrus, is looking to repair the county’s reputation by running for Crawford County prosecutor. The drug crisis, Crall said, is the top issue of his platform.
“People are dying. It doesn't get much more serious than that,” he said. “The epidemic is hitting people from all walks of life.”
According to a Crawford County Now article published in May, Crawford County ranks fifth out of Ohio’s 88 counties for drug-related problems. Crall echoed the ranking and also identified the county as second in the state for heroin-related deaths.
“Over the last five years we have seen a steady increase in overdoses because of heroin and other opiates, and deaths resulting from overdoses,” Crall said. “Crime has always been very low. That’s why the drug problem is even more of an issue. It is eroding our quality of life.”
Crall currently serves on the Crawford County Opiate Task Force and is involved with the county’s 20/20 Vision Law Enforcement Drug Abuse group. He said the drug crisis is hurting the county’s economy because so many residents are unemployable due to their inability to pass drug screens.
“Our factories want to expand and add jobs which would help our struggling economy. However, those jobs are going unfilled because the employers cannot find employees who can pass a drug screen and show up for work,” he said. “Those factories are expanding somewhere else.”
If elected county prosecutor, Crall also said he hopes to have more collaboration between different levels of government, something he’s enjoyed and learned is important as city prosecutor.
“I do not believe our county can solve the problems we face without working together and creating an environment where everyone receives respect,” Crall said. “You get better decisions made that way.”
Prior to starting a career in prosecution, Crall worked for a year at Leuthold Law Office LLC in Tiffin, Ohio immediately after graduating from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. His plan always was to take what he had learned in law school back to his hometown.
While at Moritz, Crall said he took courses such as Family Law and Criminal Law in preparation to practice law in a small town. He said Criminal Law with Dean Alan C. Michaels, Edwin M. Cooperman Professor of Law, was one of his favorite courses.
Crall settled back in Bucyrus in 2003 when he started working as city prosecutor. In 2008 he tacked on working as law director. As law director, he deals more with civil litigation, which has further prepared him to take on the greater issues and responsibilities of county prosecutor.
“I don’t claim to have the silver bullet to solve every problem,” Crall said. “I try to do a little bit each day. That’s how I try to approach everything.”
Crall’s family has resided in Crawford County for more than 160 years, and he said in despite of its drug problem, “Crawford County is a great place to live. … I want to make our community as great as I can make it.”
This article was written by Sarah Pfledderer.