Heroin abuse has grown to staggering proportions in NW Ohio and while the general public is aware of it through the media no one can assess the true impact of the epidemic to the community.
Walker Funeral Homes has seen the destruction of lives from heroin abuse. The final good-bye for a loved one, dead from an overdose, is devastating to a parent, grandparent, wife, son or daughter. Keith Walker, President of Walker Funeral Homes, has spearheaded a health alliance comprised of mental health and government agencies and the media, creating a “Heroin Steals the Future – There is Help” campaign.
Walker states “It is heartbreaking for us to watch a family coping with the loss of someone to an opiate overdose. No amount of counseling can alleviate the pain for such a senseless loss. The people who are dying are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends. They are people that many in the community know personally. Our funeral homes have a responsibility to do what we can to get the word out that assistance is a phone call away.”
Three people a week die in the Toledo area from heroin-related overdoses. Fatal heroin-related overdoses in the Toledo area nearly doubled in 2014 to 145. That compares to 80 such deaths in 2013, 31 in 2012, 15 in 2011, and eight in 2010.
Heroin abusers are so caught up in getting their next fix that they maybe unaware that there is help in the community available. Pulling together mental health agencies, government partners and the media, The Alliance is introducing a year-long campaign, which began in January, 2016, that will direct hard-hitting messages to the public via strategically placed billboards, radio, print and television messages to communicate where to get help for individuals and families seeking assistance and guidance through the addiction process.
Jennifer Moses, Chief Executive Officer of the Zepf Center asserts “We’re not naive. We don’t believe that an advertising campaign is going to all of a sudden turn this thing around but we hope the very visual, top-of-mind message to the community that there are people who want to help them will resonate with an addict or a family hoping to help an addict.”
According to National Statistics
-24.6 million people 12 years old or older (9.4% of the population) live with substance dependence or abuse
-1.9 million Americans live with prescription opioid abuse or dependence, while 517,000 Americans live with heroin addiction
-Opioid addiction disease occurs in every American State, County, socioeconomic and ethnic group
-23% of heroin users develop chronic opioid addiction disease
-The average user of heroin has changed drastically in the last decade. In 2000, black Americans aged 45-64 had the highest death rate for drug poisoning involving heroin. Now, white people aged 18-44 have the highest rate. Heroin has taken hold of the white suburbs.
Help & resources
The agencies partnering are all available to help grandparent, parents and other family members with information and to provide step by step advice.
Walker Funeral Homes 419-841-2422 | www.walkerfuneralhomes.com
The Zepf Center 419-841-7701 | www.zepfcenter.org – offering detox, short term residential and outpatient services
Lucas County Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.T. 419-213-4924 – responds to area hospitals for primary communication with overdose victims and transports victims to a central location for disposition.
A Renewed Mind 419-720-9247 | www.arenewedmindservice.org
– provides quality behavioral healthcare when and where you need it. Serving children, adolescents, adults and families.
Mental Health & Recovery Board of Lucas County www.lcmhrsb.oh.gov
Toledo Lucas County Health Department 419-213-4026 | www.lucascountyhealth.com
– Toledo-Lucas County Health Department in partnership with the Mental Health & Recovery Services Board announce the availability of naloxone. This allows individuals throughout the county to have access to what can be a lifesaving antidote.