As we step back from the sense of urgency with which we discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, an old scourge – one that has never left us – is back in the spotlight. The drug addiction epidemic in our area has haunted us all this time, but a scary new poison has made its way to Buckeye State.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said “Frankenstein’s opioids” – nitazenes – are here and are more than 40 times deadlier than fentanyl. This is a problem for everyone, not just users.
“Several officers who just touched a little fentanyl immediately fell over, overdosed and were rushed to hospital,” Yost said. “I fear this will happen not only to law enforcement, but to members of the public as well.”
Yost has reported higher opioid overdoses and deaths than ever before, not just here in Ohio, but across the country.
“It’s getting more dangerous out there,” he said, though he pointed out that Montgomery County and the Dayton area appear to be the hot spot for the latest poison.
This does not mean that our Valley is safe from the scourge.
What is most disturbing is that there seems to be no end in sight. The bad guys in the labs that make non-medical synthetic opioids that they know will kill people will keep making it as long as there’s a profit at stake.
A law enforcement approach can only be part of the effort to reverse this trend. Lawmakers need to partner with economic development experts, mental health professionals, education leaders, religious communities…everyone, really, to set in motion this rising tide that we know will lift all boats, if we just decide to do better for ALL Ohioans.
Without financial stability, mental health resources, abundant and affordable relevant educational opportunities, and community support structures, vulnerable people will never have the hope they need to overcome their addictions or avoid falling into them in the first place. .