Attorney General Mike DeWine recently visited Congress to explain to members of Congress how Ohio’s fight against deadly opioid addictions. Read more from the Plain Dealer:
“Declining economic opportunities and increased access to addictive painkillers have combined to ignite an opioid crisis that kills more than eight Ohioans every day, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told a congressional committee Thursday.
Ohio’s drug abuse epidemic began in the state’s Appalachian counties and spread “absolutely everywhere,” DeWine told the Joint Economic Committee chaired by Columbus-area Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi.
DeWine said Ohio jails are serving as detoxification centers, overflowing with people facing drug charges. The state’s foster care system is overwhelmed, with half of children and 70 percent of babies in it because parents are addicted to drugs. Employers have told him that 40 percent of their job applicants either fail drug tests or refuse to take them.
“The biggest problem we have is getting people to understand this is a problem in their community,” said DeWine, who suggested a nationwide, school-based, anti-drug education campaign for children and parents might help reverse more permissive attitudes towards heroin that contribute to the epidemic. “We have to change the culture.”
He said troubles often begin when middle-aged workers are prescribed pain medications for injuries and become addicted. They move to heroin, because it is cheaper and more available,” and then to stronger drugs like fentanyl, as they need greater dosages to feel the drugs’ effects.”