Ohioâ??s growing heroin epidemic was the impetus for a town hall meeting in Columbus Wednesday night.
Governor John Kasich and a panel of experts were on hand for the meeting.
â??Anybody who may be watching this show tonight, if you have an addiction, donâ??t run from it,â?? Kasich said.
Janice Edwards is the Executive Director of New Concepts, a drug rehab center in Toledo. She applauds Kasichâ??s efforts to combat the heroin problem.
â??He has seen this and recognized this as an epidemic in the state of Ohio,â?? she said. â??He has not thrown a cover over it. Heâ??s chosen to put it in the light.â??
The number of opiate addicts treated at New Concepts has more than tripled over the past decade. And throughout that decade, the face of addiction has changed. Therapist Carter Thomas recalls one patients who was prescribed opiates for cancer treatment.
â??Once she actually gets her cancer in remission, now sheâ??s dependent upon the medication she was using for her pain,â?? Thomas said. â??Sheâ??s addicted to it.â??
A panel of experts at the town hall meeting discussed the importance of treatment. Some of the methods New Concepts uses, like group therapy, have been around for decades. Thomas says theyâ??re adding an element: love.
â??Sometimes for the first time, itâ??s someone actually showed some consideration and care for them,â?? Thomas said. â??We go that extra mile to make sure they get the care they need.â??
The crowd in Columbus consisted of former addicts, parents and concerned citizens. They had the chance to ask the panel questions regarding the heroin epidemic.