HUBER HEIGHTS —Ohio Attorney General Mike De Wine spoke at the Huber Heights Rotary Club on Monday and addressed the heroin problem problem in Ohio.
“Today, heroin is as likely to be found in the smallest village — Camden, Ohio; Ada, Ohio; Oxford — you pick it. It’s as likely to be there and sometimes more likely than it is in the city. It’s in all 88 counties.”
He said kids are no longer afraid of heroin.
“It’s cheap,” said De Wine. “The Mexican drug cartels grow the poppies in Mexico now. They process it down there. They ship it across the border. They continue to control it, sometimes down to the street level.”
De Wine said that if you have the right phone number, you can get heroin delivered to your house as easy as ordering a pizza and for about the same price.
‘They get a person hooked on $15, $20,” he explained. “What happens is the need for that heroin goes up dramatically…The ratio between an early stage heroin addict and a late stage heroin addict can be as high as 100 to 1. Doctors tell me that the amount of heroin it would take to keep that person normal, who is a late stage heroin addict, would kill everybody in this room if you divided it up and everybody took it.”
De Wine said this is a tough battle. He said his job is to help the police and help the prosecutors and help the sheriffs. A heroin unit has been established which is involved in wire tapping to help local departments.
“We’ll plug into a police department,” he said. “If they’re investigating a gang of people, a group of people, they can come to us at some point in their investigation and they’ve gone as far as they can go and they need that extra push up the ladder to get a higher and higher drug dealer, they can plug into us.”
De Wine said he couldn’t reveal where this is being done in Ohio, but said a number of them have been successful and that that there is a number of them that they are currently working.
De Wine said the heroin problem is not just a production problem, but it’s also a consumption problem—people who want to buy.
“We’ve got to do more with education,” he said. “We’ve got to do more with prevention. The counties that have made the most inroads on this have been counties that the local community got so sick of seeing their kids die, that they just literally rose up and said we’re going to take this on.”
He said grassroots groups rose up, usually led my a mother who has lost a son or daughter.
“…We’ve seen that, so I’ve hired people who have come out of those local grass root organizations and what we now do is any community that wants us to come out, we will give them advice,” said De Wine.
He said grass root efforts combine law enforcement, the schools, the business community and the churches.
“They all have to be in,” said De Wine. “And not to be vigilante and work on the law enforcement side, but rather, work on the prevention side.”
Greg Smart may be reached at 937-236-4990, ext. 2542 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.com.