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Northeast Ohio company promotes non-profit initiative to address fentanyl biohazard risk

Fentanyl contaminated items found in local parks present safety risk
Growing fentanyl biohazrad in northeast Ohio
Posted at 7:56 AM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 08:07:50-04

SEVEN HILLS, Ohio — Josh Wojciechowski, owner of northeast Ohio's Emergency Clean Team is concerned about the fentanyl biohazard his team is finding at local parks and other public places.

Wojciechowski pointed to a board filled with bags of fentanyl-contaminated needles, pipes and other drug paraphernalia he believes are presenting and local safety risk, especially among our children. That's why his company is working with several Northeast Ohio fire departments to launch the non-profit Buckeye 88 Initiative, working to collect donations and grants to provide free fentanyl clean-up services and public education about the safety risk.

“There is massive amounts of fentanyl everywhere and there’s not a company that’s handling it, or even has the resources to handle a situation like that," Wojciechowski said. “These are needles that were found at children’s parks. It’s summertime and children are running around barefoot. They can easily stab themselves on this and have an accidental overdose, and the parent not knowing what’s going on whatsoever."

Wojciechowski said phase one of the Buckeye 88 Initiative is starting in 18 northeast Ohio counties, and the Emergency Clean team is already in the process of collecting crucial data on how to best reduce the biohazard risk.

“I’m cataloging all the different Fentanyl analogs to get an idea of what analogs are being used the most and which ones are being used the least. And with that information you can compile a lot of real-time data with that information,” Wojciechowski said.

"And also with the initiative, if any parents find any pills that their children have, and they want to get it tested for fentanyl, we will test that at no cost.”

Seven Hills Fire Chief Jamie Meklemburg told News 5 the fentanyl biohazard is real, and he believes the Buckeye 88 initiative will save lives.

“Fentanyl is a lot scarier than anything that we’ve seen on the streets," Meklemburg said. “Having a non-profit available to the residents of this area, it’s huge. We go on overdose calls all the time. I heard him talking about gas station overdoses and that kind of took me back, because I would say four or five I’ve been on, the gas station overdoses where they go into the bathroom.”

Meanwhile, Wojciechowski has established a GoFundMe page for the non-profit Buckeye 88 initiative, and is hoping a growing number of Northeast Ohio cities will get involved.

"The drug scene, it’s just booming right now and I don’t see it getting any better anytime soon,” Wojciechowski said. "That’s why this initiative is very important.”