Ohio Attorney General: Heroin is a statewide epidemic

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - "There is a heroin epidemic in Ohio," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine Monday in a news conference. Dewine announced some startling new figures about the use of heroin in the state.

The data, gathered from coroners across the state, show that the use of heroin has increased dramatically over the last four years.

"Communities have to wake up. If you don't think you have a problem, you are probably wrong," said DeWine. "Local law enforcement understands the problem. As I have traveled the state, over and over sheriffs and police and coroners tell me how bad it is. Unfortunately, there are people out there who don't believe heroin is really in their communities. They don't want to believe that this can be them -- that this can be their child who is addicted or who is going to die from a heroin overdose. The numbers tell a different story. We know that, at minimum, 606 families across this state were directly impacted in 2012 by a heroin death," said DeWine.

The data was collected from 47 Ohio coroner's offices with complete heroin overdose data for 2010, 2011, and 2012.

The results are as follows:

  • 2010: 292 heroin overdose deaths
  • 2011: 395 heroin overdose deaths
  • 2012: 606 heroin overdose deaths

Counties with the largest number of heroin overdoses in 2012 include:

  • Cuyahoga County: 161
  • Franklin County: 73
  • Hamilton County: 54
  • Montgomery County: 93

DeWine stated there is a new effort to assist law enforcement agencies, community leaders, and Ohio residents in combating the epidemic.

"We have to fight this epidemic at the grassroots level – community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood. We have to get mad and say, 'Enough is enough!'" he said.

The Attorney General's Heroin Unit, which includes investigators, lawyers, and drug abuse awareness specialists, will assist in fighting issues associated with the heroin epidemic, such as crime, addiction and overdose deaths.

"New data our office has gathered suggests 11 people die in Ohio every week from a heroin overdose," said Attorney General DeWine. "Heroin abuse and addiction has been a problem for a long time, one I keep hearing about as I talk with parents."

Heroin use has been a growing issue not just in Ohio but around the Tri-State. Last week, Northern KY released it's own plan of action against the epidemic. 

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