In 2015, 3,050 Ohioans died from drug overdoses, while about 1,100 residents lost their lives in traffic accidents.
In addition to heroin and fentanyl, carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer, is now being used by Ohio drug users to increase their highs. Carfentanil is so potent that for safety reasons law enforcement workers are often required to wear haz-mat gear when processing the drug.
These are just two of the stunning points of information that Alicia Nelson of the Ohio Attorney General’s Heroin Unit shared with community leaders at a February 16 meeting held at the First Presbyterian Church in Mount Gilead. According to the Health Department’s new Community Health Assessment Report, drug abuse is one of the top three public health focus areas for Morrow County.
This gathering, hosted by DAAP, Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Prevention of Morrow County, was designed as a conversation starter to help representatives from schools, businesses, law enforcement, churches, elected officials, health care providers and volunteers find ways to coordinate efforts to reverse county drug abuse patterns.
Because many drug user’s habits start by misusing a prescribed drug, DAAP is already working with local pharmacies to distribute prescription disposal bags as well as with Morrow County Sheriff John Hinton on the April Drug take Back Day. DAAP is also producing short YouTube videos for schools to e-mail to parents about drug abuse issues.
After attending DAAP’s Attorney General event, United Way Director Jodi Hayes said, “If we can whittle away little by little by doing what seem to be small things we can overcome the bigger problem. We need to make sure people have safe ways to dispose of unused prescriptions and keep talking with youth to make sure they understand the harm that can come from drug misuse. We are facing an epidemic and we have to hit it full