Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine visited Zanesville as part of a state initiative to prevent addiction and reduce drug abuse in all 88 counties.
"It’s very serious,” said President of National Alliance on Mental Illness, Tom Quinn. “But I don’t know what to do about it. Drugs are so powerful, that I don’t know what you can do about it.”
In a four year period, from 2007 to 2011, the state reports there has been a significant increase in drug overdose deaths. In fact, on average, five Ohioans per day lose their lives to the drug epidemic.
"It cuts across every economic boundary, social, economic, it’s everybody’s kids who are at risk," said Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine.
"Probably because of the ready availability of it,” explained Frazeysburg Chief of Police, James McCall. “The price of it, we have a lot of problems with heroin, with crystal meth labs, I mean the whole area is pretty much plagued with it."
Like any addiction, the first step to recovery and change, is to recognize the problem. DeWine’s office hosted a roundtable forum to discuss prevention methods in the war against drug abuse.
“This is an opportunity to talk to directly with them, hear their concerns."
The common consensus between attendee’s, is this is not only a police officer concern. . . it’s a community crisis. DeWine said his office, the governor, police, cannot solve the problem without local communal help.
“Getting together and rallying, and getting mad and saying we are not going to put up with this anymore,” DeWine added.
DeWine said communities that have already banded together, have made an impact, such as in Portsmouth Ohio, located about 100 miles southwest of Zanesville.
“They put a bunch of community groups together and they’ve seen the use of it go down, and the deaths go down. as a result of that,” DeWine said.
You can also help your loved ones who battle addiction.
"Well if they’ve got a family member that is addicted to drugs, the first thing is that person is going to want to get help. If that person is going to get help they need to seek help and get off of them.”
After DeWine finishes these forums across the entire state, a committee will review them and recommend additional information and steps to beat addiction.
If you or a family member is struggling with this disease and want to get help contact Muskingum Behavioral Health at 740-454-1266.