Communities must work together to solve the heroin epidemic in Ohio, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor said while in Springfield last week.
Accidental drug overdoses killed about 3,000 people in Ohio last year, an average of about eight per day – many of which were caused by heroin and fentanyl.
“In Ohio, we’re faced with a strong epidemic of heroin overdoses. It doesn’t matter what part of the state you’re from, it’s hitting all of us,” said Taylor, who visited Springfield for the EF Hutton jobs announcement on Friday morning.
Last year, 72 people in Clark County died unintentionally from drugs, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office – double the number of people who died in 2014. In many deaths, multiple drugs were present, including fentanyl and heroin.
About 28 people had died from overdoses through May this year, according to coroner’s records.
“It’s alarming when you think about the families impacted by those deaths,” Taylor said. “I think it really just screams to us that we have to work more than ever before as a community, trying to solve these problems.”
Public safety officials must work to shut down drug dealers and pill mills, while faith-based organizations and educators must continue to educate young people about the dangers of heroin.
“We need to get everybody involved in this epidemic that we’re fighting,” Taylor said.
The state recently passed a bill creating prescription protocols to help reduce the number of opiates on street, she said.
The legislature is also working on a bill that would make pharmacy technicians become licensed and registered with the state, Taylor said. It will allow them to run background checks on prospective employees, Taylor said.
“We’re asking for a few more tools in the toolbox to help us address this issue,” Taylor said. “It speaks more than ever before how much we need to work together to solve this problem.”