Drug addiction, particularly with heroin and prescription opioids, has been rapidly on the rise since the 1990s.
On Monday, Ohio judges, law enforcement officials, attorneys and behavioral health experts met at the Ohio Judicial Symposium on Opiate addiction to discuss the growing problem. Steve Carrel with Muskingum Behavioral Health said the issue is also on the rise here in Muskingum County where usage is as bad as it's ever been.
"I've never seen the number of deaths, the volume of people who are using an illicit drug--in this particular case it's heroin, or misusing prescription pain killers," Carrel said. "Never have I even seen anything like this. And it is, it's growing. It's a growing trend, and we've got to do something to slow it down."
Carrel said one of the items of emphasis at the symposium was developing specialty docket drug courts to get those with addictions help instead of simply sending them to prison. It's something Carrel said we could soon see here in Muskingum County.
"There is a large number of nonviolent offenders in our prisons who probably could change their behavior better, easier if they were on some type of community control in a drug court setting."
Bottom line, there is no overnight solution to the problem as curing addiction is a difficult, life-long process. Carrel said the goal of these symposiums is to work to find those long term solutions to help get abusers on the right track.