LUCAS COUNTY (WTOL) - In January, Lucas County once again saw a spike in heroin overdoses. But there is new hope that an end to the epidemic could be near.
For the fourth year in a row, doctors are writing fewer prescriptions for opioids.
According to the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System, prescriptions have dropped 20 percent since 2012.
"I prescribe a lot," said Dr. Rashid Khalil, Mercy St. Anne. "But I deny even more than that."
Dr. Khalil is a chronic pain management physician. He says the heroin crisis has helped them be more careful and pay closer attention before writing a prescription.
"It's more understanding that we are dealing with an epidemic," said Dr. Khalil. "It's a realization that we cannot keep going on the same pathway. We cannot keep putting opioid pill on top of every problem."
New standards have been put in place to curb over prescribing.
A patient's prescription history is now in an online database for doctors to review. That helps ensure people aren't shopping for different doctors to get more pills.
Ohio's automated prescription system reports those shopping around for doctors has dramatically dropped by 78 percent.
Lt. Bobby Chromik with Lucas County's DART team fights daily against the problem, and despite positive strides. he knows for the time being this is still an up-hill battle.
"We are far from our peak," said Lt. Chromik. "I think anybody you talk to in recovery, any law enforcement agency, will tell you we are in the depths of this epidemic."