Expert: Heroin epidemic a ‘genocide’ if not stopped


Here are some area agencies that can help with drug addiction problems. For a complete list, visit

Access Counseling Services, 4464 S. Dixie Highway, Middletown, 513-649-8008,

Butler County Crisis Hotline, 844-427-4747,

Community Behavioral Health, 820 S. MLK Jr. Blvd., Hamilton, 513-887-8500 or

1659 S. Breiel Boulevard, Middletown, 513-424-0921 ext. 10,

Community Recovery Project, 513-804-8892,

Nar-Anon Family Groups, Thursdays 7 to 8 p.m., MidPoint Library Conference Room, 125 Broad Street, Middletown, Questions? Call: 513-313-4099

SAFE Substance Abuse Family Education Groups, Wednesdays 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Breiel Boulevard Church of God, 2000 Breiel Blvd., Middletown or Mondays from 6 to 8 p.m., Zion Lutheran Church on Front Street in Hamilton. Questions? Call: 513-868-5125

Sojourner Recovery Services, 515 Dayton Street, Hamilton, 513-868-7654,


Carol Baden, the Ohio Attorney General’s Community Outreach Specialist, spoke Monday with members of the Fairfield Opioid Task Force.

Here’s more of what she shared with the group:

  • While 70 percent of heroin addicts started with legitimate pain and prescribed pain pills to manage it, Baden said in Hamilton County alone 10,000 people admitting they were IV drug users that went through the county's justice center in 2015. She said that begged the question if there were 10,000 people admitting to the drug use, how many outside that population are actually drug abusers?
  • She said 94 percent of the overdose deaths are poly-substance, meaning it's not just opioids or other drugs alone. They're combining illegal drugs with prescribed drugs and alcohol. "These people aren't just using heroin, these people aren't just using fentanyl. They're using benzos and alcohol, and everything under the sun," said Baden. "Addiction is a chronic disease you'll have your whole life. It never goes away."

It would be “genocide” if leaders across the country and locally cannot get a handle on the heroin epidemic, said Carol Baden, the Ohio Attorney General’s Community Outreach Specialist.

Baden spoke Monday with members of the Fairfield Opioid Task Force during a meeting that included representatives from the medical and social service fields, police and fire departments, municipal court, and city administration.


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“It would be genocide if the number of people who are addicted to pain pills, or even having problems with pain pills — and that doesn’t include the street drugs — (isn’t reduced),” she said. “We really have to break the cycle of addiction.”

The city of Fairfield is the latest community to start a task force to address the heroin and opioid epidemic that has a stranglehold not only on the country and state, but also Butler County.

In 2015, Butler County had 189 drug overdose deaths, and 79 percent of those deaths (or 149) were heroin related, according to the Butler County Coroner’s office. For the first quarter of 2016, there were 47 drug overdoses, with 74.5 percent of those deaths (or 35) where heroin related.

From 2015 through the first quarter of this year, there were 236 drug overdose deaths, and 184, or 78 percent, were heroin-related deaths, according to the Butler County Coroner’s office.

Over that 15-month span, there were 24 drug overdose deaths in the city of Fairfield, and 16 of those were heroin-related.

“Fairfield is not immune,” said Fairfield police Chief Mike Dickey. “We have almost on a daily basis some interaction with persons that have used heroin.”

Most notably, he said, it’s a medical run when someone has passed out.

Dickey said while this was another meeting talking about the issues, “there’s no doubt” action will emerge.

“I’m of the opinion we have to be a part of a regional, if not a statewide, effort to control this problem,” he said.

And he called it “a coalescing moment” when Baden made it clear this is not a law enforcement problem.

“It’s a medical problem, and a number of services — medical, law enforcement, community support — have to come together if this opiate problem is going to be abated,” he said.