CINCINNATI -- Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine, held a press conference on Monday to discuss his plans to fight back against the heroin epidemic in the Buckeye State.
Along with the Montgomery County Coroner and parents of heroin victims, DeWine shared data gathered by his office over the four years that shows an increase in the use of heroin in Ohio.
“Communities have to wake up. If you don’t think you have a problem, you are probably wrong,” said DeWine.
Ohio is seeing a 107 percent increase in heroin deaths, according to data collected from 47 Ohio coroner's offices during 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The numbers in Hamilton County, alone, are astonishing. Hamilton, one of the four top counties in Ohio for overdoses, had 54 heroin-related deaths last year.
"New data our office has gathered suggests 11 people die in Ohio every week from a heroin overdose,” said Attorney General DeWine.
DeWine has complied a Heroin Unit which includes lawyers, investigators and specalists to combat the heroin epidemic.
"Unfortunately, there are people out there who don’t believe heroin is really in their communities. They don’t want to believe that this can be them -- that this can be their child who is addicted or who is going to die from a heroin overdose. The numbers tell a different story. We know that, at minimum, 606 families across this state were directly impacted in 2012 by a heroin death,” said DeWine.
Some local facts on heroin:
- It's estimated that 24.1 percent of all overdose deaths in Ohio were a result of heroin.
- The Ohio Departments of Health, Alcohol and Drug Addiction services reveals in 2011, the leading cause of drug overdose death was, in fact, heroin. The numbers have since increased.
- 36 percent of HIV infections are attributed to injection - mostly from opiate use.
- In 2012, there were 606 heroin overdose deaths. Up from a little less than 400 deaths in 2011.
The Attorney General's Office also issued a heroin contact list for law enforcement and community leaders to help find resources.
“Despite major efforts to fight the heroin epidemic on the state, local, and national level, the problem is not going away, and people are continuing to die,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Heroin injects addiction, deception, and death in the lives of so many young people, and we hope this new effort can save lives.”