heroin

The heroin problem has reached epidemic levels, nationally as well as here in our region. Hamilton County saw more than 170 deaths due to drug poisonings last year. Several health and law enforcement agencies in the county recently joined together to form the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition.

The record numbers of deaths due to drug overdoses in many parts of the country, including Ohio, is the most tragic result of the heroin and opiate epidemic. But the social costs of drug abuse are also on a dramatic rise. Last year thousands of individuals were arrested just in Hamilton County alone on drug-related charges.

After hearing a report on the region's heroin epidemic from city officials and community activists Monday, Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Mann introduced a motion asking that the city find ways to combat what he called "the heroin crisis" in the next city budget.

Ann Thompson

Heroin apparently drove a Pleasant Plain, Ohio woman to traffic her 11-year-old daughter to her alleged drug dealer inside a Colerain Avenue apartment.

Provided / Hamilton County

Hamilton County is preparing to create a Heroin Task Force aimed at curbing the rapidly increasing number of users and overdoses.

Commission President Greg Hartmann announced the effort during his annual State of the County address Thursday.

"Nine thousand heroin addicts came through our jail in 2013," says Hartmann. "There's seven heroin overdoses per day in the City of Cincinnati. I've begun discussions in Columbus. I'm also going to invite the City and our public health experts."

His office later released the following goals for 2015:

Deputies find heroin in Bible

Jan 16, 2015
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Two people are accused of trying to smuggle heroin into the Hamilton County Justice Center in a Bible. 

Chief Deputy Mark Schoonover says the Bible was sent to the jail in mid December, and like all mail, it was searched.

A Sheriff’s K-9 indicated the presence of narcotics on the Bible; and deputies took a closer look.  On page 419 and 420, in the Book of Daniel, they noticed a light brown stain, about the size of a half dollar.

Schoonover says deputies cut a small piece of the page out and had it tested.  The results of the test were positive for heroin. 

Hamilton County Sheriff's Department / Provided

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office says Monday's search at the jail turned up marijuana, but no heroin.

The department used drug sniffing dogs to search each section of the justice center. One inmate was searched when a K-9 alerted in his pod. Two  small bags of marijuana were found in the inmate's waistband.

The sheriff's office conducts the sweeps randomly. Sheriff Jim Neil says in light of increasing problems with heroin use and overdoses, including several that occurred in the jail, he plans to step up the unannounced searches.

Northern Kentucky Drug Task Force

A Northern Kentucky task force put together to respond to the region's heroin epidemic will update the public on its work Tuesday evening.  

Lynne Saddler is with the Northern Kentucky Health Department and is co-chairing the Northern Kentucky Heroin Impact Response Task Force.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell made a stop in the commonwealth Thursday. He spoke at the Northern Kentucky Area Development District's annual meeting.

Much of his speech focused on why he should be re-elected this November, but he began by addressing the region's heroin epidemic.

"It's the scourge of our rather affluent society," says McConnell, "but I think continuing to double down and cooperate at all levels of government is absolutely essential."

McConnell says Northern Kentucky remains the epicenter of the epidemic.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Law enforcement from Hamilton and Dearborn counties are celebrating a big drug bust but say there's still a lot that must be done to curb the explosion of heroin use in the tri-state.

Authorities seized 25 pounds of heroin and 18 pounds of cocaine as it was being transported through Indiana from Chicago en route to Cincinnati.

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