Ohio attorney general says heroin battle begins early with proven results

COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WYTV) – Appearing at the Fallen Officer program in Columbiana Thursday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said even though so many are working to reverse the state’s opioid epidemic something is missing.

More than 3,000 fatal overdoses were recorded in Ohio in 2015, and there were nearly 200 just last month in Trumbull County. DeWine said the number of overdoses warrants an urgency but isn’t seeing as much of that sense of urgency as he would like.

DeWine said the only way to get ahead of the problem is to educate young people beginning as soon as kindergarten.

“You have to do something every single year that is age appropriate. You have to do something every single year that has scientific basis behind it. In other words, it has been proven that this does, in fact, work,” DeWine said.

DeWine is applauding the efforts of local authorities prosecuting those who supply fatal overdoses to their friends, as in the case of Katrina Young-Walsh of New Springfield. Young-Walsh was indicted just last week on manslaughter charges in connection to an overdose death.

“I like that prosecuting attorneys across the state are now, when they have the evidence, are going after the person who supplied the drugs and charge them with homicide,” DeWine said.

On to politics – During DeWine’s visit he sidestepped speculation that he is officially a candidate for governor, even though he’s been widely touted as the front runner ahead of others who have already thrown their hats into the ring – but apparently, he is paying attention.

“According to polls that have been done, if the election were held today, I win by about three to one in a Republican primary. I am not going to take anything for granted but that is where the race starts,” DeWine said.