Following a summit in November discussing the heroin epidemic in the state, a community action plan has been put in place. The summit was held in Cleveland to educate the public about the dangers of using heroin and to create a plan to combat the growing problem. Some of the solutions include focusing on treatment, improved data sharing, and an increase in funding.
"A lot of times treatment gets left out of the mix when we’re talking about drug addiction," explained Muskingum Behavioral Health CEO, Steve Carrel. "And I’ve seen some, and they talked to this forum about increased funding. Addiction funding hasn’t increased in 15 years. We keep talking about this problem that needs to be addressed and the funds keep getting cut."
Carrel said heroin addiction affects people of all ages and attributes the increase in usage to a crackdown on the illicit use of painkillers, causing drug addicts to flock to heroin. Locally, area jails and treatment centers have seen an increase in people seeking help for heroin addiction.
"Our hope locally is that we can keep raising awareness that, ‘hey folks it is here.’ It’s not just a legal issue, it’s a public health issue. Addiction is a disease of the brain and as such, it is treatable and people do get well."
To seek treatment, you can call the Muskingum Behavioral Health office at 740-454-1266.