The opioid crisis is destroying Ohio.
Prescription painkillers such as Percocet and Vicodin have left many Ohioans addicted to powerful opioids. When people can no longer afford opioids or are denied refills, they often turn to heroin or Fentanyl sold illegally on the streets.
It is estimated that 80 percent of heroin users started on an opioid. When people switch to these powerful drugs, overdoses are common. In 2016 alone, 4,050 Ohioans died from unintentional overdoses, the second most per capita in the nation behind only West Virginia. 2017 is expected to outpace those numbers.
This epidemic has several trickle-down effects. The foster care system is overburdened from the influx of children into the system after their parents overdosed. Local government budgets have busted do to the need to purchase large quantities of Narcan, the drug used to revive people who have overdosed. Lost labor productivity from people addicted to opioids cannot be defined yet, although the impact is expected to be significant. Ohio needs answers, and it needs them now.
Fortunately, Ohio has already taken a step in