YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine visited the Valley Tuesday to talk with the faith-based community, discussing ways to reach out and tackle issues plaguing not only the local area, but the entire country.
DeWine’s discussion at Mount Gilead Baptist Church on Youngstown’s south side centered on heroin and painkillers, which he said are killing five to seven people a day in Ohio.
One issue, he said, is doctors who prescribe the painkillers.
Keith Vukasinovich, of the Cornerstone Project, asked DeWine what is being done to prosecute physicians who abuse their powers.
“We’ve made some progress in this area,” DeWine responded. “Since I became attorney general, and since the governor became governor, we’ve taken about 70 doctors’ licenses.”
DeWine also discussed the amount of Fentanyl his office confiscated this year. Last year, his office confiscated more of the drug than the last five years combined, and this year, it’s expected to increase even more.
Fentanyl is a drug used to treat severe pain but has the potential for abuse and addiction and is often seen laced into drugs like heroin to increase the drug’s potency.
Tracey Winbush of the radio program Tracey and Friends sponsored Tuesday’s event with DeWine. She discussed why local religious leaders need to be aware of the issues and what they can do to reach out.
“The reach is further. They have a lot of influence. They are a beacon of hope. But along with that hope, they need resources. They need access, and they need information,” Winbush said.
Winbush said a relationship with the attorney general is important because there are things his office does that people, including pastors and other clergy, may not know.
It is no secret that drug use has become an epidemic not just in the Valley but across the entire country. Citizens and lawmakers continue to fight back and put a stop to heroin and opiates as well as other issues like crime and safety.
The clergy have an impact on the community and are important for the fight.
“The faith-based community has a wide range of access to the community at large so they know their constituents. They know the people who go there, their families, their members. And when somebody passes away, you call your clergy,” Winbush said.
Winbush hopes for more of the meetings in the future with other government leaders, including the Ohio Secretary of State and Treasurer, among others.
DeWine also spoke with Mahoning County Republicans at the Georgetown on Tuesday evening as part of the Lincoln Day Dinner.