Cincinnati has already seen more fatal overdoses this year than in all of 2016

CINCINNATI -- With more than three months left in the year, Cincinnati's heroin overdoses and drug-related deaths have already surpassed the 2016 totals.

So far in 2017, there have been 122 fatal overdoses, compared to 107 during all of 2016. 

Dr. Marilyn Crumpton, the interim city health commissioner, said the heroin problem "has only gotten increasingly more complex."

"That's one of the things we try to point out, is that the problem doesn't have boundaries," she said.

The city and Hamilton County recently pledged $400,000 to fund local anti-opioid initiatives. A portion of the money will be used to hire an addiction health counselor and expand the city's syringe exchange program.

"It means fewer needles are being shared, so the syringe program is really about reducing the risk of spread of disease," Crumpton said.

The new funds will also go toward resources like the overdose quick response team, the addiction services helpline and increased naloxone distribution. Officials hope the efforts will help reduce the widespread reach of deadly addiction.

"We need to do what we can to save the life to begin with," county Commissioner Denise Driehaus said. "To make sure people have the Narcan available to save the life and the second piece of that is to get them into treatment and eventually recovery."

Visit WCPO.com/heroin for more stories and information about overcoming addiction. 

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