FINDLAY, OH (WTOL) - In an interview with Congressman Bob Latta, it was clear the opioid epidemic was taking on new proportions. The congressman explained that prescription pill addiction has become evermore prevalent and that the cost of pills often leads to heroin use.
Congressman Latta and Attorney General Mike DeWine joined members of the Ohio Department of Health to help raise awareness and find solutions in a forum hosted at the University of Findlay. Health experts, social services experts and local law enforcement addressed why opioid dependency is so prevalent and all proposed suggestions for how to stop it.
On an average day, 460 people in the US try heroin for the first time.
"For the last several years, what I've been hearing from folks out there from every field. it's about this epidemic we're having out there. And especially the opioid epidemic. And when we have folks out there that are getting addicted every day, it is truly an epidemic," the congressman said. "Cause what's happening is, not only is it affecting individuals and their families, it's affecting the work force out here... We can't find folks a lot of the time because they can't pass drug tests."
The event was open to the public.
A panel discussion started at 6:30 p.m.and was moderated by WTOL's Jerry Anderson.
"This is gonna affect our country and our culture," Latta said. "Every place! So it could be a family down the street from you, a next door neighbor; this is what's happening out there. And so, what we've seen out there is folks that have gotten hooked on prescription drugs, they can't get off of that, they can't afford those anymore; then it's heroin. But it also affects the way you look at courts, the way you look at hospitals. Everyone I talk to, they're experiencing this and it's really tough on our culture."