April 16, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
36°F
test

Ohio attorney general announces anti-heroin program

Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine

Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine

ELYRIA — The number of heroin-related deaths has reached such a level in recent years that it commanded the attention of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who announced Monday a new program to reduce heroin use and overdoses.

“These are frightening numbers,” DeWine said about the number of heroin overdose deaths in the state this past year. Data gathered from 47 counties in the state show a 107 percent increase in heroin deaths from 2010 to 2013. Lorain County has had 22 deaths in 2013 alone, DeWine said. “Lorain County has a really tragic spike.”

On Monday DeWine started a group called the Attorney General’s Heroin Unit, which consists of investigators, lawyers and drug abuse awareness specialists who will work with various counties in the state to reduce the number of heroin deaths.

The goal of the unit is not to tell county officials how to handle the heroin problem, DeWine said, but rather to educate them about what methods have worked in other counties.

“Some counties are in denial,” DeWine said, adding that he would like county officials to accept that heroin use is a problem in Ohio and learn methods to reduce the amount of heroin use.

Though the group is intended to provide statewide assistance, DeWine said he hopes the efforts to reduce heroin deaths will have a local focus.

“There’s success for local communities working together and rallying (the community),” DeWine said, adding that some counties have been able to reduce heroin use through efforts led by \the families of heroin users and victims of heroin overdose.

“There’s no one easy solution. It’s combination of law enforcement, education and treatment,” DeWine said.

DeWine said the idea came after he traveled around Ohio for a year, discussing the heroin epidemic with county officials. Further research led DeWine to call coroners around Ohio and compile statistics for recent heroin overdose deaths in each county. The increase in heroin deaths from the 47 coroners DeWine talked to led him to decide to address the epidemic on a statewide level.

The formation of the unit comes at an apt time for Lorain County after more than 25 opiate overdoses in the county last week, two of which resulted in deaths.

The Lorain County Drug Task Force is continuing to work closely with Elyria and Lorain police to determine the source of the opiate-related drugs and arrest heroin and opiate traffickers in the county.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.

  • stillsleepyeyes

    Wow……so people have to die to get DeWine’s attention……………..or is it election year…………….hmmmm

  • dag800

    Do a search for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition LEAP

  • stop ur whining

    the war on drugs is joke of epic proportions. we spend $7 billion a year on “the war on drugs” guess what? the war is over and drugs won. throwing more money and labor at this problem is a waste. as long as their are weak willed junkies looking for a high, there will always be a drug problem.

    • jz

      Example of war on drugs. Crack down on pain pills, consequently, price goes up cus the risk goes up for dealers, [simple economics] so, and I stress to their demise, people move to heroin cus it is cheaper. Once again, the drug war creates more of the same problems, make em worse, the purports to fight against those problems. Is that smart policy? Yes dag800. LEAP. The mainstream media, and all the entities that benefit from federal funding, and most of all our cowardly politicians are deathly afraid to acknowledge LEAPS message. coming from those who actually fought this counterproductive war on drugs. Too many entrenched interests. Meth is a direct by product of the crackdown on cocaine. Meth which is so much more harmful than cocaine. What is so difficult about acknowledging that a harm reduction policy would lessen the effects that drug abuse causes to addicts, and our communities, lessen the damage done to our constitution which is happening right under our noses, lessen the violence of a black market which is born directly out of prohibitionist policies. Enough is never enough. There is stubborn, and then there is bull headedness. Adopting LEAPS policies has nothing to do with condoning or encouraging drug abuse. It has to do with trying to make things better for all parties involved. Harm Reduction.

      • tickmeoff

        Drug Enforcement will never cut their own throats, It’s never been about the problem. It’s about picking up a paycheck and securing a pension. Self interest rules over common sense! Look what three strikes did for prison guards in California. Working is about self preservation, especially in this field!

    • Pablo Jones

      I guess the war on poverty is over as well, poverty won. Stop wasting money on food stamps and welfare. The war on CO2 is over, might as well embrace tire burning power plants.

      • stop ur whining

        the war on poverty is over, the poor won. we provide too much money and s.n.a.p. benefits to those on welfare. Today you are better off collecting a govt. check than working at a fast food restaurant. we have generations being raised on assistance. S.N.A.P. allows people to buy steaks, pop, chips and anything else they want. It should be milk and cheese. so yea, cut funding for welfare while we are at it, thanks for the suggestion.

        the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over with the same result. we have had a war on drugs since Regan and we have only had a rise in drug issues. War is over, legalize them all, regulate them, and tax them. Junkies are going to want their fix and will get their fix. at least if taxed there would be some good to come out of it.

        • jz

          It can,t be about just getting more taxes.The goal is harm reduction. Crime would also go down due to the black market being undercut. Just like alcohol prohibition, crime reduced after it was repealed. Some, mostly in law enforcement will say there will still be a black market, but, common sense says otherwise. Sale to minors, 1st offense, no criminal record, still mandatory 3 years prison. No profit in that black market, addicts can live a safer lifestyle away from the violent dealers/black market with all the $ wasted on law enforcement towards treatment when one is ready. They would have no reason to steal for their drug money. They would have our prayers for getting off the drugs and that is about all we can do for them. Or we can let all these bureucrats and politicians make us feel good with all this hoopla which is just more of the same and nothing will improve. .

          • stop ur whining

            good ideas but there will always be a black market and there is NO common sense to suggest it would be eliminated. there still is for booze as well as many other products.

            And it totally can be just about the tax revenue. is for me. I could care less if junkies O.D. they make the stupid choice of shooting up a highly addictive drug.

            Legalization, although i support it, will not stop or even reduce abuse. It will merely regulate the potency and provide tax revenue, sure, part of that revenue will go towards 12 step programs just like the casino, but lets be real.

            Still a ton of alcoholics out there and there always will be and the same applies for junkies. as for mandatory prison sentences, our AG is currently working to eliminate those sentences, especially for marijuana bc even they see that our prisons are over crowded and we are locking up people that really shouldn’t be.

            although we agree in legalization, you are living in fantasy land if you think it will solve any real problem. it is merely a money grab plain and simple.

          • jz

            Look up LEAP. How can you compare what miniscule black market there is for alcohol to the devastation from Mexico, [where they hang people from bridges], to our streets? Some moonshiners in W. Virginia and a small percentage of gas stations or whatever who sale to minors you put on the same scale as the current drug black market? I never said it would stop drug abuse. However, abusers could get their drugs in a safer enviroment and crime would go way down. Fantasy land? No way. You are not thinking it thru enough. I,m not declaring a perfect world. but if you think controlling and regulating like alcohol would not have a big improvement in crime reduction etc you are being unreasonable. I think you are aware of LEAP. Spend more than 10 minutes reading on their site and tell me there would not be a much better, [harm reduction] payoffs? I can,t believe your analogy to a black market in alcohol!

          • stop ur whining

            i was merely stating that a black market will ALWAYS exist.

            I also am not certain that crime would go way down. The difference would be the type of crime. Dealing arrests may go down, but DWI’s and car accident related deaths may go up. Also, those junkies that turn to crime to feed their habit still have a habit to feed so they will continue to commit crime.

            Also, any web site is going to cite why their way is the best way.

            We currently control and regulate alcohol and it is the #1 abused drug in America!

          • jz

            Have you studied LEAP? In re to alcohol, of course we have the abusers of alcohol to deal with, but we don,t have the crime, violence, that was associated with alcohol prohibition which disappeared after it was repealed. Jack Daniels and Crown Royal don,t kill each other over turf they settle differences in civil court. Dealing arrests may go down? There would be no dealers cus there would be no customers cus there would be no profit. Where do you buy your whiskey or beer? Some black market criminal who curried it from Columbia and is gonna mark it up 1000 percent cus if he gets caught he is dead or in prison for life, or a regulated guranteed get what you pay for product from Crown royal which is inspected by the FDA. Were alcohol drinkers better off with bootleg bathtub gin which blinded and paralyzed people during prohibition or better off with what is sold now? Where is the profit if users get their drugs cheap rather than from the risky black market which has 1,000 percent markup from a kilo in Mexico to our streets? Have you studied the content of LEAP or are you just assuming the obvious which is of course any web site will tout their ideas. These are ex cops and people who worked in law enforcement who comprise LEAP. Unless you truly study up on it rather than just peruse the site for 10 minutes you cannot argue that these are the people most qualified to speak out against the drug war and also like me, see more benefits than just tax increases. Who commits crime to get money for alcohol? I,m not talking about some drunk acting recklessly or violently. I,m referring to a theft offense to get the money. And please what black market for alcohol are you talking about that has any real consequence to hurting our quality of life anywhere the current drug black market? Have to go. I,ll check back with you. This is the type of discussion these forums should be having cus it is gonna be the same old same old with no real impact on anything. I think you are underestimating what controlling and regulating these substances would have on our communities.

          • stop ur whining

            1) there will always be a BLACK market. there will always be dealers. will there be as many? no, but there will still be many people that grow themselves. as for violence and booze…although you are correct that violence decreased after prohibition, you merely traded one crime for others. DUI’s, Alcohol related deaths, and other crimes related to alcohol.

            2) junkies who steal to feed their habit will still need to steal to feed it…changing the vendor from a drug dealer to 7/11 doesn’t change that. “who steals for alcohol” truthfully, IDK, but how many thefts use part of their booty for alcohol? you nor i know that. further more, as far as addictions are concerned Heroin and crack are far more addictive then booze meaning people will go to much farther lengths to get their fix, including theft and robbery.

            3) finally just bc LEAP is compromised of former cops it is no where near the authority on the subject. those ex-cops have already proven ineffective on the war on drugs and there is no reason to think that now, this is the answer just because ex-cops say it is. if that logic is true, our politicians who are the leading experts in government and look where we are now.

            4) like i said man, you and i agree that legalization is the way to go. But the idea that it is going to drastically reduce crime and will fix issues is a pipe dream at best. the only benefits are tax revenue and the dollars you save no longer fighting a war. which is more than enough for me.

          • jz

            It is not “just because” they are ex cops”. I believe in the content of what they and the way they lay out their reasoning. It is not a pipe dream and out of the realm of logic that crime would be reduced drastically. I don,t get how you don,t figure that. Not enough room here to go into it further. It is their reasoning I agree with not just because they are ex cops. Others like Alexander Haig, Walter Cronkite,William F. Buckley, George Shultz , alot of judges and others from other fields besides cops also belong to LEAP land many others follow the idea that legalization, and none of us mean at the 7 eleven store, {that is silly}, but in a medical setting. And no, it makes no sense to regulate these substances and then charge exorbitant prices if we want to reduce drug related crimes committed by addicts to get the $ for the drugs. These substances are inexpensive to produce and the distribution would be designed to totally take away any incentive for their to be a black market Mr. Whining. Politicians are to afraid to talk about this and they also benefit by continuing the status quo. I don,t think we disagree for the most part except on what impact decriminalization would have. I would hope that the elimination of a violent black market and crime reduction would be part of the goal. Nice talking with you.

          • Pablo Jones

            What kind of medical setting are you thinking about? Most of those settings don’t come cheap. To pay for it there are several options. 1) Include the price in the cost of the drugs. But this will not bring the price down to make the medical settings the ideal location. 2) You could include the price in the cost of the drugs but increase the level of drug use. But do we want more people doing more drugs? That does seem like we are going in the correct direction. 3) We could have them subsidized by the tax payers. How do you think that would fly, asking people to work and pay tax dollars so addicts can have a cheaper high.

            For a large part of the country people do not experience the results of drug use first hand. They hear and read about drug crime, use, arrests, deaths, etc. but most aren’t touched by it personally that they know about. Telling them that if it were legalized all those problems would go away means very little to them. They would prefer the status quo that keeps it at a distance and they are willing to pay for it.

          • jz

            One possibility could be like methadone clinics in Canada. At the same locationsmedical help could be available when a person is ripe for quitting. I,d imagine those costs would be drastically less than the billions we spend on interdiction , county jails, courts and prisons. Law enforcement policies which like I say not only is ineffective but makes more problems than it creates. The pitch to the taxpayers is we pay now anyways. So, what would we rather pay for? And I still contend the reduction in certain crimes would go way down. Local cops Ive talked too say the same thing, albeit, behind closed doors. Studies have shown and my own sensibilities tell me that there would probably be a sharp rise in drug use, however, given 5-10 years it would level out and like alcohol we will have the abusers/alcoholics to deal with, minus the ancillary ramifications created by a law enforcement approach. what 5-10 percent of the population? I believe LEAP and other entities [Drug Policy Alliance] say drug addiction and abusers are about 3-5 percent of the population but commit over half of the crime. Seems about right to me. By the way you remember Ron Paul, who is a medical doctor and ran for President advocates the same policy changes. At the republican debates you could see how he was shunned by everybody. There also is your status quo. Why not a pilot program in say 5 states? .

          • Pablo Jones

            From what I have seen methadone clinics don’t really help they are just a different fix for the junkies at the tax payers expense. A high cost for the few people addicted to heroin. What would the cost be adding in other drugs and the larger percentage of people using them?

            Speculation on cost is just that speculation. Sure we have seen the numbers X billions and trillions have been spent fighting drug use. The trouble is we don’t know what the real numbers really are. A cop busts a drug dealer, is his wages for the couple hours figured into that or all of his wages? Would DEA agents be fired if drugs were legalized, or would they just shift their roles? Knowing government that money would still be spent and then we would have the higher costs associated with the change. If you want to use money as an argument you have to show how much your programs will cost and where the savings will come from.

            Problem with a pilot program is it isn’t done in isolation. The equivalent would be treating a certain type of cancer and you cure that cancer and you say the treatment is a success. But in reality the cancer spread to the other parts of the body or other complications arise. For the most part right now the Federal government is letting states do what they want to do. So you can see what happens in Colorado and other states and cities around the country.

          • jz

            I beg to differ on one count. Alcoholics are just as addicted and many lives negatively affected. If booze was illegal their lifestyle would mimmick a junkies. But at least the repeal of alcohol prohibition means addicts of alcohol are less problematic than they would be than if it was a black market. We agree on the bottom line though. Also check out a group called the Drug Policy Alliance. As far as politicians, they created a large part of this mess. Nixons own commission strongly urged him not to declare war on drugs and their reasons were what we now see playing out in the Drug War. What is happening is what they predicted would happen.

          • Pablo Jones

            Comparing alcohol to illegal drugs is not apples to apples. Redneck Bob can’t make Jack Daniels and if he wanted to make a similar product their would be huge setup costs including storage as the product is aged. That is why you don’t see a black market in alcohol and people pay the 35+% tax on alcohol.

            But for marijuana there really is no major costs unless they want to grow hydroponically. So why would people continue to buy from the black market? Because even if prices came down $50 for an ounce is cheaper than $50 + $30 tax for an ounce.

            Just because the group is composed of former law enforcement officers doesn’t necessarily mean they have the best solutions. Police know the laws and deal with it every day, but you wouldn’t hire a cop to be your lawyer. Just because they may have some good ideas doesn’t mean they are calculating every facet of the problem.

          • jz

            Nice to see another thought out, intelligent, well meaning response. It seems logical to me that where something is prohibited but there is still a demand that the prohibition creates the black market. Consequently there is risk of jail which drives up the price of the product exorbitantly. Competition is not handled in the legal regulated marketplace but at the end of a gun barrell. And certainly you are right and I do not mean to compare alcohol and marijuana to crack, meth or heroin. As a matter of fact you could make the argument that because these drugs are so addictive that is why regulation in a medical setting is much preferable to letting criminals control the the distribution. Look at the recent deaths due to criminals and not a regulated market controlling and supplying the demand. I,m sure you see that in Mexico they go so far as to hang bodies from bridges just to set an example of what they do to people who get caught and rat to the police. The same things went on during alcohol prohibition. Reading LEAPS site they certainly seem to be calculating every facet of the problem As you see above many others agree with LEAP, not just ex cops. Anyways, I hope you study LEAPS site more than it seems you have. There is also a group called the Drug Policy Alliance. Check it out.

          • Pablo Jones

            Since you mentioned Mexico and the cartels there, why do you think they are located there and not the united states? In Mexico any kind of limitations, laws, or regulations are a joke. The police and military are afraid or on the take from them. America the activities are illegal and enforced very little of the crime that Mexico has. Mexico has nothing and crime is out of control.

            Sure you can make the argument that if it were legal in the US then they would be out of the picture. But there is no way the US would legalize every drug so they will be around until Mexico does something about it.

            Further prohibition can’t be your go to argument for what happens when things are illegal and what happens afterwards. Prohibition was 90 years ago and the country and culture has changed. Prohibition didn’t create the gangsters or the crime, the gangsters took advantage of Prohibition. What do you think will happen to the cartels the criminal distribution networks. Will they go quietly into the night?

          • jz

            Yes the culture has changed, good point. However, there was a time when you could send your kid to the drug store to get your morphine. Drug abuse was a small societal problem made worse by prohibition. but that point is moot now and like you say does not apply today. Gangsters/prohibition/chicken egg, what,s the difference?

          • Pablo Jones

            Again you can’t say drug abuse was a small problem. Just because they don’t collect statistics on it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

          • jz

            What choice would they have if the drug market goes elsewhere for reasons of safety, cheaper, medical setting etc or what? 28th st and get mugged or get fetanyl thinking it is heroin? Yes it is extremely corrupt in Mexico. The most violent group is called FARC. Guess what? They are all the ex cops who quit and joined the cartels when the new president started using the military in their drug war. A recent documentary I saw verified that now violence is worse than ever since the “crackdown” and many more innocent people are now dragged into the fray as the military just kicks in doors, no legal guidelines, and can kill your kid in front of you without even showing any probable cause. Innocent people are being killed everyday, [by the military]. Yeah, lets get tough on drugs. How can this be a better way? Details can be ironed out as a pilot program continues. Actually years ago the city of Baltimore allowed drug sales in small quadrant sections of the city which were in areas of vacant run down tenement houses. Nobody lived in these neighborhoods. This is shown in a show called The Wire that used to be on HBO. The show was produced by a former narcotics officer and Baltimore Sun 30 year crime reporter. Based on facts. Guess what? Crime throughout the city went way down and old people were out sitting on their front porches at nite again. No kidding. When the press found out about the program [it was an experiment] it was abandoned. You can buy or rent the show. I think that was around the 4th or 5th season. I highly reccommend The Wire. Buy them or rent them, No cop show comes as close to the realities of showing the drug war from the low level streets to upper level dealers from cops in the middle to the politicians at the top of city and state government. , and the actors are excellent. Do yourself a favor it is highly entertaining.

          • Pablo Jones

            What exactly has Mexico ever done effectively, besides maybe guard their southern boarder? But I guess if they can’t do something right then it can’t be done.

          • jz

            Another reason is because those countries are dominated by jungles with perfect climate for growing the coca plants and for hiding from Authorities. Your points are true but let’s not understimate geography.

      • jz

        Actually the war on poverty created more poverty. Of course we need to be vigilante about our air and enviroment. Your sarcasm is about 3rd grade debate team and you got cut.

  • kbean

    Death sentance for dealers involved the overdose deaths

  • Guest

    death sentences for dealers involved in overdose deaths

  • FoodForThought63

    DeWine has always been supportive of these kinds of things. He has gone against his Republican counterparts to support causes for underprivileged children, college students, and others who are unlikely to even be registered voters. For that he has earned my respect.

    • Joe Smith

      Can you show me where Repubs were against any children or students unless it was for a plain handout with no way of fixing the situation?

      • FoodForThought63

        Sure, the federal TRIO program which serves college students who are at risk by being low income, first generation, and have an academic need such as a need for remediation in one or more subjects. The program provides more personalized advising and coaching for these students. The Repubs voted against funding for this program numerous times. However, DeWine always supported it.

        • Pablo Jones

          If education was important to the college wouldn’t they want to provide this service on their own? There are already many programs to help the students. Do these at risk people need their own special program?

      • FoodForThought63

        And while this doesn’t involve DeWine, Repubs were against lowering student loan interest rates which helps students whose parents do not have the means to afford college. It helps students who would otherwise be working minimum wage jobs and qualify for federal handouts receive a college education so they can go out and earn a decent living and contribute to society. Just thought I’d throw that in since we were on the topic.

        • Pablo Jones

          Student loans were subsidized by the government through private lenders until 2007 when the Democrats took over the congress. They stopped the subsidizes and established the interest rate at 8%. They then voted to reduce that 8% rate down to 4% that would expire after so many years. They did this so that they could say they voted for student loan interest rate reductions. The problem is real interest rates are much below 4%. I was able to get my student loans consolidated at 1.5%. So the Democrats actually caused student loan interest rates to rise.

        • Joe Smith

          So idf true, whats wrong with having student keep the deal they made instead of lowering it? If it wasn’t a good deal, they should not have taken the loan in the first place.

      • FoodForThought63

        And we all know the party in general is against unions. School districts who are unionized perform much better than those whose teacher’s are not unionized. And I am not even a fan of unions-yet I have done my research and found the above to be true.

        • Pablo Jones

          And how exactly did your research make apple to apple comparisons? As far as I know in Ohio public schools are all unionized. Charter schools use pubic dollars and usually aren’t unionized, but the students that attend them are not the same demographic as a public school. So you can’t compare them. Private schools tend to perform better than public schools and those teachers are usually not unionized, but again you can’t compare them to public schools because the demographics are not the same.

          So how did you account for this in your research?

        • Joe Smith

          BS, Unions give a person the ” I can’t get fired” mentality, how can that possibly make them perform better?

  • Brandy Lynn

    OK I will probably get negative comments for this, but come on police; get the dealers, and when you do, SHOOT and kill them in self defense – they all have guns on them :p Just kill them and save tax money!!!!!!!

    • Brandy Lynn

      I mean really, prison is NOT going to rehabilitate them. They will get out, get back into living off the government and dealing drugs, that’s what they do. They will never ever be any use to society. They should just be shot while there’s a chance to do it. :)

    • jz

      Quit inundating us with junior high mentality. Either you are kidding with sarcasm or extremely naive and unrealistic.

      • Brandy Lynn

        I am not kidding, I would like them to die. (heroin dealers). I dont want to pay taxes for their prison term that will either be cut short, or they get probation instead; then go back out on the streets and do the same thing. It would save everyone time and money if they were dead.

  • Zen Grouch

    **“Some counties are in denial,” DeWine said…**

    …either that, or they’re just letting nature take it’s course.

    • stop ur whining

      thanks to all the heroin addicts out there for thinning the heard. until we stop the junkies there is no reason to pump any more money into a war that can not be won. the war on drugs is over and DRUGS creamed all takers.

      • B. Me

        As a parent who just lost a son on heroin, if I had the chance to speak to people about making wise choices I would tell them to think twice about what they did with their lives and not end up as my son did. At one time he had a wonderful life, a career, wife, family, he had it all and lost it due to drugs. He thought he could be the exception and do it for once. He was mistaken. It only takes one try and you are hooked. He tried so many times to get help and the system failed him. He went to a clinic to get help and because he was having withdraw symptoms the clinic made him leave. I never heard of such a thing. The people that were suppose to help, failed him. That was the way it was for almost a year with him. I could go on and on with different stories but it all comes back to the same…the system failed him and I have no son today. So, please if there is someone out there that is reading this that has a friend that needs help, please don’t turn away from them, reach out and help them, you don’t know what they are truly going through. They need help…even though they say they don’t…God Bless you all.
        From Someone Who Lost A Son To Drugs 2 Weeks Ago