Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that he will hold a series of community forums across the state to examine drug abuse in Ohio and create recommendations to help prevent addiction and stop drug-related crimes.
“Drug addiction hurts our communities and hurts our families,” said Attorney General DeWine. “By working hand-in-hand with community members to conduct a comprehensive review of drug abuse throughout the state we hope to develop some innovative strategies to fight the problem.”
Attorney General DeWine made the announcement in Scioto County this afternoon during the first meeting in the Attorney General’s Drug Abuse Community Forum series.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, drug overdose deaths increased 440 percent in Ohio from 1999 to 2011, with Scioto County having the highest drug overdose rate per capita from 2007 to 2011. More recent statistics from the Scioto County Coroner’s Office show a 30 percent decrease in direct drug deaths from 2011 to 2012, and a 32 percent decrease in indirect drug deaths during the same time period.
“It appears that Scioto County could be entering into a period of recovery, but we want to continue to work with the community to identify drug trends and keep their overdose death rate on the decline,” said DeWine.
Several community forums will be held throughout the state over the next several months.
Each meeting will give community members the opportunity to discuss their drug abuse concerns directly with Attorney General DeWine and a panel of local experts. Those on today’s panel in Portsmouth included State Representative Terry Johnson, Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini, Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware II, and representatives from the Portsmouth City Health Department, Compass Community Heath, and the Ohio SOLACE Network.
At the conclusion of the series of meetings, a committee will be formed to review the forum findings and create recommendations to curb drug abuse and prevent addiction across the state.
Additional forum dates and locations are yet to be determined.