Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine hosted a community forum on Tuesday, where he led the discussion on the issue of drug abuse in the Toledo-area.
A panel of local drug abuse experts joined Attorney General DeWine at the Emergency Services Training Center in Toledo. Among the panelists were Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp, Lucas County Prosecuter Julia Bates, and Ohio Representative Robert Sprague. More than 50 community members also attended the forum.
DeWine said heroin use is a leading cause of drug-related deaths and drug-addicted babies in Lucas County. He warned those numbers will continue to climb unless action is taken at the local level.
Panelists agreed with DeWine that prescription pill abuse is a gateway addiction that often leads to the use of heroin and other harder drugs. Regulating doctors who write prescriptions to addicts is one way DeWine intends to crack down on widespread abuse.
On Monday, DeWine announced plans to create a separate heroin unit in the Attorney General??s Office. It will be made up of eight agents, who will work exclusively with local law enforcement on the Heroin epidemic.
DeWine will continue to host similar community forums across the state, and will review community input to create recommendations to curb drug abuse and prevent addiction.