There is a frightening trend in Ohio. People are dying at an alarming rate due to heroin use. And the Ohio State Attorney General, Mike DeWine is vowing to do something about it. “New data our office has gathered suggests 11 people die in Ohio every week from a heroin overdose,” said DeWine.
“No more driving down a dark alley on the wrong side of town. They are full service to the suburbs. And that has been a game changer,” Attorney General Mike DeWine has said of the situation in his state, going on to call it a “heroin epidemic” that has touched every Ohio community.
Heroin Epidemic: The Numbers
DeWine’s office collected data from the 47 county coroners that track heroin-related deaths and found an alarming trend. The results are as follows:
2010: 292 heroin overdose deaths
2011: 395 heroin overdose deaths
2012: 606 heroin overdose deaths
The reporting counties with the largest number of heroin overdoses in 2012 include:
Cuyahoga County: 161
Franklin County: 73
Hamilton County: 54
Montgomery County: 93
The total deaths caused by heroin in Miami Valley counties from 2010-2013 include: Butler: 99, Clark: 36, Greene: 11, Montgomery: 232, and Warren: 36. The number of heroin-related cases handled by the attorney general’s crime lab has also climbed: 2,182 in 2010, 2,764 in 2011, 3,819 in 2012 and 4,238 so far in 2013.
Heroin Epidemic: The Heroin Unit
According to AG DeWine, it’s a problem that requires public awareness because law enforcement alone cannot solve the issue. DeWine has pledged to hire more community outreach workers, provide assistance to local law enforcement agencies and add BCI&I agents and lab technicians to work on the heroin problem. He has promised to spend an additional $1 million a year and use his position to fight the heroin addiction epidemic facing the state. The additional spending will come from reallocating money within his existing budget, he noted.
The attorney general’s Heroin Unit, which will include investigators, lawyers, and drug abuse awareness specialists, will assist in combating issues associated with the heroin epidemic, such as crime, addiction and overdose deaths. The decision to create the specialized unit was made after new data gathered by the attorney general’s office in the past month revealed a 107% increase in heroin deaths among more than half of Ohio’s counties. That is a battle that can only be won community by community.
“We are today creating a heroin unit with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. We are bringing together existing resources to form this unit, as well as new resources which will include agents, criminal investigation, and laboratory services from BCI,” Attorney General DeWine said.
Others are not so optimistic. Democrat David Pepper, who is running against DeWine for attorney general in 2014, applauded DeWine’s efforts but said “I’m glad he’s paying attention to it but it’s way late in the game because the problem has been exploding across the state for years. This should have come a long time ago.”
If you or a loved one is struggling with a heroin addiction or other substance abuse issue, Palm Partners can help. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.