Ohio Attorney General creates unit to battle heroin epidemic - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Ohio Attorney General creates unit to battle heroin epidemic

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says heroin abuse has become a statewide epidemic.

At a news conference in Columbus, Attorney General DeWine said data collected suggests that 11 people die each week in Ohio because of Heroin.

Now the Attorney General is instituting a statewide initiative to address the rapidly growing problem that's killing people in record numbers.

"That is a battle that can only be won community by community. We are today creating a heroin unit with the Ohio Attorney General's Office. We are bringing together existing resources to form this unit, as well as new resources which will include agents, criminal investigation, and laboratory services from BCI," Attorney General DeWine said.

Among the services offered will be special prosecutors if needed, help to obtain grants related to the heroin epidemic and community outreach efforts.

"We kicked off our drug abuse community forums where we're bringing all sorts of people together to talk about the problems, and possible solutions in their local communities. We had our first one in Portsmouth last month, and the second one in Toledo on Tuesday," DeWine told news reporters.

A stack of case files on a table at the Trumbull County Coroner's Office represent 2 months of drug overdose deaths. It's evidence that people are also dying at an alarming rate here in the Valley.

Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk is the Trumbull County Coroner, "I pulled out cases from July 30th, up until October 3rd.  And this office has had a total of 45 cases during that time period, and out of those cases, 15 are drug overdoses.  That's more than 30% of our case load."

Attorney General DeWine says that while many of the communities in this state understand the problem, "There are some however who do not understand the problem, and who are frankly in denial, and my message this morning is that those communities simply have to wake up. If you don't think you have a problem in your community, you're probably wrong."

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