Two events Friday will take a closer look at providing solutions to the ongoing heroin epidemic in Hamilton County. (FOX19 NOW)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
Hamilton County is stepping up its efforts in the war against heroin. It's a problem which has grown to epidemic proportions in recent years.
Leaders will met at the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency to discuss partnerships and response. Several civic leaders, including US Attorney Carter Stewart were in attendance. The county's heroin coalition is taking a more intensive approach to treatment, education and law enforcement.
Last year heroin claimed 177 lives in Hamilton County and 10,000 addicts came through the county jail.
Heroin use has exploded in the county since 2006 and Commissioner Greg Hartmann says enough is enough.
"We're at mayday level with heroin. It's a tidal wave that is overwhelming communities," Hartmann said.
The county is fighting back with a collaboration between law enforcement, treatment providers and health education. The county is also allocating more money for badly needed detox and treatment beds.
"Beds are filled up. There are not enough beds in our community to fill the need," R. Maria Sulcer said.
There's also a need for treatment information that may have saved the life of Jeff Moore following an overdose.
"Dec. 18 overdosed, revived with Narcan and I didn't almost necessarily die it's I woke up and realized I didn't want to live that way anymore and the first responders were the ones that got me the information I needed to get help," Moore said.
This multi-faceted approach may not end the heroin problem, but stake holders say it's worth a try.
"We cannot be afraid to try something and if that something doesn't work then do something else and if that doesn't work and we fail we'll do something else," Moore said.
Over the next few months the county will work with other drug prevention organizations to develop a website and educational materials to help addicts, families and the community at large join in the fight against heroin.