Overall, more than 13,000 Ohioans have lost their lives to drug overdoses since 1999 at an average rate of five people a day, and the leading cause of most overdose deaths are opiates, such as heroin and prescription painkillers, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
In Butler County, 189 people died from drug overdoses in 2015. Of those, 149 were heroin-related — including heroin, fentanyl or a combination of both, Dr. Lisa Mannix, Butler County coroner, told the Journal-News.
Mannix said that 2016 data shows that Butler County is on pace to exceed the 189 overdose-related deaths in 2015.
In Hamilton County, Cincinnati experienced 174 overdoses in one week (Aug. 19-25), according to the county coroner.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told more than 220 first responders at an addiction forum held recently in Cincinnati that it will take a grassroots effort from every community to successfully combat opiate and heroin problems that he called the worse he has ever seen.
Susan Lipnickey, the chair of the OTF and professor emerita at Miami University, agrees with DeWine and that is why she’s citing Friday drug forum as an opportunity to for a strong grassroots approach to address the issue.
“With the changing landscape of treatment for addiction and the increased impact of the heroin epidemic, the OTF and Recovery Services Board have planned an in-person opportunity for the Butler County Community to learn first-hand of the resources available for the treatment of opiate addiction,” Lipnickey explained. “With presentations from several agencies, the opportunities for questions and the chance to engage in discussion, this program is intended to reach across all demographics within our county.”
STAYING WITH THE STORY
The Journal-News has been a leader in reporting on the impact locally of heroin and opiate addiction and how local health, government and police officials are trying to solve problem. Our reporters will continue to write about the programs, treatments and legislation at work to fight the growing number of drug overdoses, which some in Butler County have called an epidemic.