Here, the opioid crisis is bigger than politics. As rehab centers replace pill mills, an Ohio River city fights back

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Dale King, owner of the Portsmouth Spartan Kettlebell Club, drove his 1946 Jeep though downtown. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — Dale King rumbled into the parking lot in his military Jeep, a black 1940s-style clunker that he maneuvered with a skull-tipped stick shift. Heavy metal music blasted from the garage that he and some friends had converted to a gym for the neighboring addiction center.

Patients from next door were packed inside wearing worn T-shirts, faded athletic gear, and other hand-me-downs. Half the class were barefoot. Some wore jeans, others ankle monitors.

It was October 2018, and King, a 38-year-old retired Army intelligence officer turned fitness trainer, characteristically got straight to the point.

“Who here has overdosed?”

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