According to 2014 statistics from the Drug Enforcement Administration, in the United States, there are an estimated 435,000 people who regularly use heroin. This figure is triple the number from 2007 and only seems to be growing. And while the overall US stats are alarming, in Ohio, the situation is even worse.
America’s Opiate Capital
Opiate overdoses kill 78 people every single day in the United States, and 29 of those deaths are due to heroin, according to the CDC. Over the course of a year, that equals 28,000 opiate deaths, with 10,500 from heroin.
In Ohio, the number of fatal opiate overdoses has risen from a grand total of 296 in 2003 to 2,596 in 2015. For heroin alone, those numbers are 87 in 2003 and 1,424 last year. Professionals who deal with addicts on a regular basis have been shocked by the spikes, and the lasting effects don’t stop with the addicts themselves.
Children as Unwilling Participants
Current totals have almost 14,000 children in custody in Ohio’s child protection system. Since the end of 2012, the number has jumped close to 13 percent. Another number that has grown by leaps and bounds is the hospitalization rate for drug-dependent newborns. Unless addicts are willing and/or able to get help, their children will continue to suffer.
The Struggle to Get Help
Many Ohio law enforcement officials put the enforcement aspect of drug use on the back burner, in favor of intervention efforts such drug rehab treatment. Many carry the life-saving drug naloxone to combat overdoses and readily distribute public service warnings when word of a batch of bad heroin hits the street.
Much of the time, the grip of heroin isn’t the only struggle addicts face when trying to get clean. Finding a quality drug treatment center that has enough room can derail any rehab efforts before they even begin. One stat shows that just under 14 percent of addicts in Ohio that needed treatment actually received it, in 2014. Data from the CDC says that in 2014, only California had more overdose deaths than Ohio.
Why Is Ohio the Center of the Opiate Problem?
Sam Quinones, author of “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” says that black tar heroin first started making the rounds in Ohio in 1998, and the situation has only worsened since then. Mexican drug cartels favored central Ohio to bigger cities like New York or LA to avoid gang wars and issues with gun violence. They were able to slip in under the radar and establish a base, then capitalized on the “pill mills” that were so prevalent in the early 2000’s.
Pill mills refer to clinics where doctors would over-prescribe opiates for pain relief. Not surprisingly, people would become hooked on the pain medication and would have easy access via crooked doctors and the drug traffickers. When the authorities began to crack down on the pill mills, traffickers were right there with heroin, which cost less and worked in much the same way.
Today, many heroin addicts blame prescription opiates for their entrance into the world of heroin. Sometimes the route was due to recreational use, but much of the time it started with a legitimate injury or surgery, then being over-prescribed the medication.
Turning Things Around
There’s no question that the Ohio heroin epidemic isn’t just going to get up and walk away. However, now that more people are aware of what’s happening and efforts are being made to help those in need, the numbers may soon begin to reverse themselves. If you or someone you love has an opiate addiction and needs treatment, contact the experts at Beachside Rehab today to learn how we can help at 866-349-1770.