Pubdate: Sat, 11 Jul 2015
Source: Chillicothe Gazette (OH)
Copyright: 2015 Chillicothe Gazette


If we needed any new reminders as to the pervasiveness of heroin in 
our community, the last few weeks have provided another stark, jarring jolt.

While the community continues to come to grips with the deaths of 
four women and seeks information about two who remain missing, that 
news comes with links to the drug and prostitution culture around the 
city. The full impact of how much that lifestyle contributed to these 
incidents isn't fully known, but anecdotally we know the connections 
can be drawn.

Meanwhile, the county coroner's office reports Ross County could 
break last year's record number of drug overdose deaths in 2015. 
Already this year, 16 people have died as the result of a drug 
overdose - eight of them from heroin. Last week, we brought you the 
brave story of Tracy Kemper-Hermann, who lost her husband to a heroin 
overdose in April 2014. Her story was one that could inhabit any 
family in Chillicothe, even Ohio to certain degree.

This week is also a national awareness week for babies born with drug 
addiction. It's an issue of staggering importance in the Scioto 
Valley. Five of the top seven counties (Scioto, Lawrence, Pike, 
Pickaway and Ross) for drug addicted babies, from 2009 to 2013, were 
in south central Ohio and Pike and Vinton counties are second and 
third for largest growth in neonatal abstinence syndrome, both with 
growth of more than 1500 percent in the past five years.

It's another call to action in a war we've been fighting ever since 
strong narcotic painkillers made their appearance on the scene. This 
week's announcement that Ross County's application into the Heroin 
Partnership Program is very good news, but all the details aren't 
immediately known. So, where do we turn?

That's where Project DAWN and the use of Vivitrol comes in.

Project DAWN is a program dedicated to training addicts, their 
friends and family on how to administer the anti-overdose drug 
Naloxone. Vivitrol is a once-a-month drug that helps to block areas 
of the brain that react to drug abuse, making it nearly impossible to 
achieve the high from the illegal drugs. Both are available through 
the Ross County Health District.

To date, more than 170 Naloxone kits have been given out and 300 
people trained on their use so far and 75 patients receiving Vivitrol 
each month. Honestly, if you know anyone with a drug addiction, these 
two programs are a must for you because it could be the difference 
between life and death.

Our law enforcement community is working hard to catch and prosecute 
drug dealers and the people who pimp women who suffer from drug 
abuse. The heroin partnership program is another step in that fight. 
In the meantime, we can take our own action to help save those who 
fall victim to addiction's curse.
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