Sherriff tackles Ohio’s Overdose Epidemic with Education
One local sheriff in Ohio is leading the state into an education-based fight against drugs in an effort to lower the high rates of unintentional drug overdoses plaguing the state.
By now, the fact that the U.S. is struggling with a national epidemic of deaths by drug overdose is common household news. From the year 2000 to 2006, overdose deaths in the nation have more than doubled, from 11,712 deaths per year (or 32 deaths per day) to 26,400 deaths per year (or 72 deaths per day).
Yes, you read that correctly – in 2006, there were already 72 people dying every day from a drug overdose across the U.S.A. – the main culprit being prescription drugs – and the numbers have been climbing ever since. In 2012, in the state of Ohio alone, 5 people died each day from unintentional drug overdoses – two thirds of those caused by opioids (either prescription or heroin). Since 2000, the rate of overdose deaths in Ohio has increased by 366 percent. In northwest Ohio, the rate of deaths by overdose are on pace to double once again this year.
Just last month, a 17-year-old boy from Sylvania Township overdosed and Sherriff John Tharp, of neighbouring Lucas County, Ohio was emotionally touched by the news. After hitting so close to home, he realised that while addiction treatment and law enforcement are important pieces to winning this battle against opioids, there is something even more important – and that is education.
Despite being surrounded by the negative effects of these drugs, many of the Ohio youth still don’t consider highly-addictive prescription drugs to be dangerous – and consider them safe for recreational use.
Tharp has recently called upon several school districts in the area to work together and make a plan to include education about the serious effects of these drugs as part of the school curriculum. Ohio’s chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Mike DeWine agrees with Tharp. “Education and prevention are two of the most important things in the fight against prescription drugs and heroin abuse,” he said. “The communities winning this fight are the communities that get everyone involved.”
A bill has already been passed at state level, and is now awaiting the Senate’s ruling. But the wait is not stopping Ohio schools from getting started early, and Lucas County is now leading the state on preventative education with Sherriff Tharp right at the front lines.
Prescription drugs have become such a threat for many reasons – including overprescribing – but a lot has to do with the lack of knowledge of how dangerous the drug really is. It has long been drilled in that cocaine, meth and heroin are addictive and will cause health problems. But when many youth and even adults think of prescription drugs, they automatically seem like safer drugs to use. What they don’t know, however, is that the main ingredient in a lot of these prescription pills is the same main ingredient in heroin.
At The Cabin Chiang Mai, we tip our hats to this Sherriff in Ohio who is reaching out and trying to make a difference for the future generations. Prescription drugs are dangerous, and people need to become more educated on their effects. If you or someone you know is abusing prescription drugs, please contact a professional for more information on treatment – and how to stop.