Drugs

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

On Wednesday, Ohio Governor John Kasich announced the launch of a statewide drug education program called “Start Talking.” The program encourages parents and teachers to talk to young people about the dangers of heroin and prescription drugs.

At the launch event at West Carrollton Middle School south of Dayton, many of the speeches were emotional.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has formed a unit of his office to deal with what he says is a heroin epidemic in Ohio.

“Frankly we have to fight this epidemic at the grass roots level, community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, village by village, township by township, city by city," says DeWine.  "Communities have to get mad and simply say enough is enough. New information our office has recently collected suggests that, at a minimum, eleven people die each week in Ohio because of heroin. "

The Ohio State Highway Patrol has reported more drug-related arrests and seizures in Ohio in the first half of this year compared with the first six months of 2012. 

Recently released patrol statistics show troopers made 4,728 drug arrests January through June for an 18 percent increase over the same period last year. The Dayton Daily News reports that is a rise of 42 percent compared to the average number of arrests from 2010 through 2012.

A program training law enforcement officers in Ohio to recognize whether drivers are drug-impaired is drawing praise from prosecutors and others, while criminal defense attorneys say such assessments aren't scientifically accurate.

The Columbus Dispatch reports 71 law-enforcement officers statewide have completed training as certified drug-recognition experts since 2010. The program goes beyond sobriety tests to train officers to determine whether someone is impaired from drugs or a medical condition.

The head of Ohio's addictions agency plans to talk about new data showing state residents still dying from drug overdoses at record rates.

Orman Hall is director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. He also will use a news conference Tuesday afternoon to push for addiction treatment and other health care services for all Ohioans.

Data released last week show the number of people who died of accidental overdoses jumped 14 percent in 2011 for a total of over 17 hundred overall deaths.

Local police say some shopping going on at a major retail center isn't for clothes or appliances.

A recent drug bust at an auto detail shop was the latest in a series of actions near the Dayton Mall. The Dayton Daily News reports several arrests of suspected drug dealers in the past month.

A 20-year-old man was fatally shot April 4 at a beverage drive-thru near the mall amid an FBI drug investigation.

Authorities say the heavily traveled area with many parking lots gives drug dealers opportunities for quick, car-to-car sales.

A proposed Ohio law seeks to end what a prosecutor calls a "cat-and-mouse" game involving chemists changing synthetic drugs' molecular content to keep them legal.

At issue are the sale and abuse of synthetic drugs such as bath salts and herbal incense, which can cause users to behave in bizarre and dangerous ways.

Matt Donahue, a special prosecutor with the Ohio attorney general's office, says current Ohio law bands a particular chemical compound used to make such drugs.

Francis Storr

A decision by Ohio Governor John Kasich to change the way doctors can bill Medicaid for a painkiller addition treatment may make it easier to obtain in the long run.  The administration says the change could ultimately affect far more patients than a $1 million pilot program for ex-offenders vetoed by the governor last month.

Under the new change taking effect in October, pharmacies can bill Medicaid directly for Vivitrol and have the drug delivered to a doctor's office without an upfront payment.

New efforts to crack down on drug trafficking in Ohio include legislation targeting hidden compartments in vehicles and changes in how drivers can use the Highway Patrol hotline.

Authorities have raided a doctor's two offices and home in southwest Ohio, seizing boxes of records in an investigation of possible prescription drug abuse.

The Dayton Daily News reports that 69-year-old Dr. Han M. Yang says authorities are "off-base" in their allegations. He says he has surrendered his license to practice medicine in Ohio and will give up his practice. He also says he will seek an attorney.

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