Help get message out about heroin

Ohio’s chief legal officer and chief legal counsel in Seneca County delivered similar messages Wednesday in our community.

The majority of crime in Ohio and in our county is due to substance abuse in general and heroin use in particular.

“If you talk to law enforcement, they’ll tell you 80 to 90 percent (of crime) is drug-related or alcohol-related,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said during a visit to Laminate Technologies. “If you can eliminate those addictions, you’ll eliminate most of the problem.

County Prosecutor Derek DeVine later Wednesday estimated 65-70 percent of criminal cases that make their way through his office involve addiction issues, whether it be drug trafficking, theft or burglary.

In one way or another, the problem effects everyone. Maybe you don’t know anyone suffering from such substance abuse. But it’s still the reason you lock your door when leaving your home … and likely lock it behind you when you return. Then there’s the impact shoplifting to fund an addiction has on prices.

What are the solutions?

Prevention is the best bet – continue saying “no” to drugs. But it’s more complicated; doctors have been learning to say “no,” too, because prescription painkiller abuse can lead to heroin use. But that also takes away an effective means of pain management.

Treatment for addicts also is key. A new tough-on-crime approach means treating an offender. Again, it’s not that simple; heroin use doubled between 2007 and 2012, and treatment facilities often are full. Plus, the cost of heroin detoxification, which can take three to five days, is about $3,000. That’s just to clean up; staying clean is a lifelong battle.

“You just don’t win with heroin,” a detective told The Associated Press for a story to be released Sunday. “You die or you go to jail.”

The message doesn’t get any clearer than that.