WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Figures released recently show the heroin problem in Trumbull County is worsening. The death toll from overdoses in 2015 stands at 81, up by more than fifty percent from the previous year.
“We had 53 in 2014, and they still have tox screens coming on a few so, the number for ’15’s gonna be higher than 81,” Trumbull County Mental Health Board Executive Director April Caraway said.
And with another suspected overdose death earlier this week in Warren, and doctors having to administer naloxone to a pair of toddlers to reverse their overdoses, experts are grasping for answers.
“We are trying to work with people to get them into detox and into treatment programs,” Caraway said. “If anyone needs that kind of help and they don’t know who to call, call 911.”
Since last May, Warren Police have administered naloxone 21 times in the field, saving all but one victim. Half a dozen other local departments either have the drug or are training for it. Still, Sheriff Tom Altiere admits more than eighty percent of his jail inmates are there because of drug-related offenses.
“Either a theft or a burglary, a robbery, or anything combined,” Altiere said. “And they’re doing that so they can get money to get heroin.”
Authorities have started a new program where inmates can ask to be given a different drug to help overcome their addictions known as “Vivitrol”…But it is expensive…and inmates may not have the coverage to pay for it.
“It’s about $1200 a month for a shot, and you can’t be on Medicaid If you’re in jail,” Caraway said. “So that’s been part of the issue.”
Making matters worse..experts fear heroin laced with the pain killer Fentanyl is making a comeback..having been reported causing a growing number of overdoses in the Pittsburgh area recently….
“We believe it’s coming here,” Ohio Representative Sean O’Brien said. “We believe it’s already here. But this batch, they’re now doing is even stronger than what we’ve seen before.”
And that has Trumbull County officials worried the numbers for 2016 could get even worse than last year’s.