Majority of overdose deaths in Butler County prompts sheriff to visit U.S. southern border

Fentanyl is responsible for the vast majority of overdose deaths in Butler County, according The Ohio Department of Health.

Preliminary data from the Butler County General Health District shows 184 people died from a drug overdose in 2022. The Butler County Coroner’s Office said 88% of those deaths were fentanyl related.

“These are our kids. These are college students,” Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones said. “These are people that sometimes it’s the first time they’ve ever taken any drug. And they died because of the fentanyl.”

“These are people that are in college or high school that buy something they think that we’ll just get them high for a minute and the first time you die,” Jones said.

Jones said that drugs from the southern border are making their way into Butler County.

Earlier this month, Sheriff Jones visited the southern border in Cochise County, Ariz. where he participated in multiple ride-alongs with law enforcement. Jones said the point of this trip was to educate people about current border operations and to learn more about how illegal drugs are coming into the United States, especially fentanyl.

He said the best way Butler County citizens can stay safe is to get educated on the dangers of fentanyl.

“That’s all the average person can do is educate your kids, educate the public,” Jones said. “Right now we’re not doing a good job with that.”

Jones said the U.S. is losing the fight against the influx of drugs coming in through the southern border. Following his trip, he wrote a letter to President Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas demanding the removal of Mayorkas due to the conditions he witnessed on his trip.

“I should get a reply,” Jones said. “I hope that they have the decency to respond. I don’t suspect they will, but I’m hoping they will.”

Tracking overdoses in Ohio

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced a new public system called The State of Ohio Integrated Behavioral Health Dashboard to better track and report data on overdose deaths and other substance-use-related measures.

It provides a county- and state-level picture of long-term trends in opioid use disorder, overdoses and treatment in all 88 Ohio counties.

The dashboard is just in its first phase. Currently, it includes data on opioid use disorders in those 18 and older.

To help communities learn how best to implement the dashboards, RecoveryOhio will offer virtual training and virtual “office hours” over the next several weeks.

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