Ohio Attorney General Announces Formation of New Heroin Unit - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Ohio Attorney General Announces Formation of New Heroin Unit

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Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced the formation of "The Attorney General's Heroin Unit" to battle the rising problem oh heroin abuse in the state.

DeWine made the announcement on Monday at news conference where he gave disturbing new figures about the use of heroin in the state.  The data, gathered from coroners across the state, show that the use of heroin has increased dramatically over the last four years.

The unit will include investigators, lawyers, and drug abuse awareness specialists, will assist in combating issues associated with the heroin epidemic, such as crime, addiction, and overdose deaths.

"Communities have to wake up.  If you don't think you have a problem, you are probably wrong," said DeWine. "Local law enforcement understands the problem. As I have traveled the state, over and over sheriffs and police and coroners tell me how bad it is. 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.

The decision to create the specialized unit was made after new data gathered by the Attorney General's Office in the past month revealed a 107-percent increase in heroin deaths among more than half of Ohio's counties.  The data was collected from 47 Ohio coroner's offices with complete heroin overdose data for 2010, 2011, and 2012.

The results are as follows:

  • 2010: 292 heroin overdose deaths
  • 2011: 395 heroin overdose deaths
  • 2012: 606 heroin overdose deaths

The reporting counties with the largest number of heroin overdoses in 2012 include:

  • Cuyahoga County: 161
  • Franklin County: 73
  • Hamilton County: 54
  • Montgomery County: 93