CDC comes to Cincinnati to help fight heroin epidemic
(Photo: Gordon Graham, FOX19 NOW)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
Representatives from the Centers for Disease control were in Cincinnati to address one of the biggest issues in the Tri-State right now, heroin.
Part of the visit is to explore the use of a high powered painkiller being linked to more and more overdoses.
The Centers for Disease Control comes to Ohio at the request of the Ohio Department of Health and what brings them to Cincinnati is to take a closer look at the effects heroin has on the local community especially since the introduction of the drug Fentanyl into the heroin supply.
Dr.Judith Feinberg is an infectious disease specialist who the mixture of the two drugs has proven to be a deadly combination.
“We've seen an increase in deaths related to heroin laced with Fentanyl which is a narcotic much, much, much more powerful than heroin,” Dr. Feinberg said.
The state health department reports there were more than 500 Fentanyl related deaths across the state in 2014 compared to the year before when there were only 84 deaths.
Dr. Mary DiOrio with the Ohio Department of Health says that's why the CDC has been asked to come in and help.
“Help us look at the issue so that we can develop prevention messages and actions that can specifically target Fentanyl related deaths,” Dr. DiOrio said.
Those lives heroin doesn't claim it often ruins. FOX19 NOW caught up with Ashley Echler, a heroin addict, who says the drug has left her with nothing.
“I lost everything. Everything I mean everything. I'm sleeping in an abandoned shed,” Echler said.
There are a lot of stake holders in the battle against heroin including law enforcement, health care and treatment providers, but Dr. Odell Owens with the Cincinnati Health Department says help from the feds is always welcome.
“We're hoping that they'll see what's happening here in Cincinnati and maybe in the future provide not only just data but some resources,” Dr. Owens said.
For addicts like Ashley Echler some resources are in short supply.
She says “They need to build more treatment centers. There's barely any sober living houses in Cincinnati for women.”
The CDC team is also expected to visit Cuyahoga and Montgomery counties as well as Portsmouth areas that have also been devastated by the heroin epidemic.