Ohio has joined many other states that have a growing heroin epidemic. A few years back, one of the biggest problems in the country was prescription drug abuse. Many states tightened restrictions on the pills making them harder to get and more expensive. For example, many pain clinics, referred to as “pill mills” by authorities were shut down by the Florida governor; Florida’s pain clinics supplied more than 2/3 of the illegal prescription drugs in the nation.
With the opiate pills harder to come by, addicts are turning to heroin. Heroin is cheaper, easier to find, and offers a more intense high. The resurgence of the drug brings with it overdoses, deaths, and ruined families.
In Ohio, over 600 deaths were attributed to the drug in 2012 and it is estimated that hundreds of thousands are addicted. Democrats in the House of Representatives called on the governor of Ohio to declare heroin abuse a public health emergency. They are also demanding that the governor help to locate funding for programs to help deal with this problem.
A spokesperson for the governor argues with the contention of the legislators that the governor has ignored the drug epidemic and not fought the problem with the urgency it deserves. He released a statement saying that the governor has always placed a high priority on Ohio’s drug epidemic and he is glad that legislators are now on board with fighting the issue.
A Republican congressman echoed that sentiment saying that although it is a ridiculous to try and make heroin abuse a political issue between the parties, he is glad that Democratic representatives are committed to ending this problem.
The legislature has passed several bills in the past year and is hoping to pass several more. The problem of drug abuse and deaths touches nearly every community in Ohio, so both Democrats and Republican are working together to pass bills and find the funding.