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Drugs

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The head of a Cincinnati-area drug task force is calling on the state to declare a public health emergency to free up more resources for fighting heroin.

After a recent spike of overdoses, Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan, who heads the task force, is calling the situation a public health crisis. 

Police in Cincinnati are asking for the public's help in finding the source of the suspected heroin behind an estimated 78 overdoses in just two days this week.

Authorities believe the same batch is linked to three recent deaths.

They say there were an estimated 78 overdoses on Tuesday and Wednesday and a total of 174 overdoses in emergency rooms within the past week.

Local officials are calling it a public health emergency.

Thomas Marthinsen

Drug overdose deaths are still on the rise in Montgomery County according to first quarter 2016 numbers.

The Montgomery County Poisoning Death Review tracks and analyzes unintentional drug overdose deaths. According to its report, early 2016 saw a 130% increase in the number of drug overdose deaths in the County compared to the first quarter of 2015.

The report indicates a 26% increase in deaths from illicit Fentanyl in the community. 

Ohio troopers say they seized about seven times as much heroin during the first half of 2016 as they did during the same period last year.

The State Highway Patrol attributes the increase at least in part to several large drug busts.

The rise comes amid other signs that Ohio's opiate problems continue to grow. The Cleveland area saw 15 overdose deaths in a recent three-day span that were attributed to heroin, the synthetic opiate fentanyl or a combination of those.

Customs officials in Cincinnati seized 10 pounds of heroin in one summer shipment.

Women's Voices dayton correctional institution
Juliet Fromholt / WYSO

Shannon Evans came to prison earlier this year after a three-year spiral into drug addiction. As she puts it, she used to be a “goody-two-shoes” and never imagined she’d end up strung out on heroin. But her story isn’t uncommon: the problem with prescription drugs and heroin has spiked in Ohio in the last few years, and the proportion of women killed by drug overdoses has also gone way up.

Nikkia Sullivan Wanted To Become A Kingpin, And Almost Succeeded

Apr 17, 2016
Women's Voices From DCI - Logo 1
Juliet Fromholt / WYSO

Nikkia Sullivan grew up wanting to be a kingpin. At 13 she set out to make her dream come true. In this story she talks to fellow inmate LeShae Landry about what it was like growing up in that lifestyle

Highlights from the audio:

“My day started at 8 p.m. That’s when my day started. Call my homeboys, whatever the case may be, like, you all got any licks for me? Ya got some money for me?”

An Ohio Senate panel is considering a bill that would give judges the option of suspending a driver's license for someone convicted of a drug charge instead of the suspension being mandatory.

Republican state Sen. Bill Seitz, of Cincinnati, says current law makes it difficult for hundreds of thousands of people in Ohio with suspended driver's licenses for drug convictions to find a job.

The legislation affects only drug convictions that don't involve driving. The bill is scheduled for another hearing in the Senate Government Oversight Committee on Tuesday.

Ohio must target anti-overdose interventions in eight counties that account for two of every three overdose deaths from the painkiller fentanyl, government scientists said Tuesday.

The state must also ensure widespread availability of an anti-overdose drug and that addicts have access to a variety of drug overdose prevention services, including clean needles when allowed by local policies, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Various Pills Medicine Overdose
Chaos

The state says the number of prescriptions being written for painkillers continues to fall as Ohio battles a deadly addictions epidemic.

Data released by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy Monday show 701 million painkiller pills were dispensed to Ohio patients last year, down 12 percent from a high of 793 million in 2012.

The data also show a 71 percent decrease in the number of patients going from doctor to doctor in search of drugs thanks to the pharmacy board's computerized reporting system.

www.heroinaddiction.com

The police on front lines of the nation's battle against deadly heroin are changing tactics and even redefining their roles in some communities.

In a suburban Cincinnati township and a northwest Ohio county, police in special teams try to intervene with users soon after overdose recovery. They want to steer them into treatment while near-death experiences are fresh, before they relapse.

A program that offers treatment-seeking addicts an amnesty is spreading to other states from a northern Massachusetts community's police department.

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