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Findlay, I-75, and Ohio's Heroin Crisis

posted Apr 16, 2014, 8:05 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Apr 17, 2014, 8:21 AM by Unknown user ]

Matthew Bado

David Pepper, a Democratic candidate for attorney general from Cincinnati, has recently expressed that Ohio needs to invest more into fighting its growing heroin problem. Over the past few years, Ohio’s heroin addiction rates have gone up significantly and are reaching crisis levels. His plan includes a collaborative anti-heroin task force designed to work with local authorities, stronger penalties for heroin trafficking, and more addiction treatment.

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Pepper criticized Ohio for not going into “solution mode,” while other states have. Ohio’s efforts seem to have actually accelerated the heroin crisis, after law enforcement across the state stamped out “pill mills” (a clandestine operation in which a medical worker supplies pills without a prescription) - pill addicts, now without their fix and unable to find effective treatment, moved onto cheap heroin. One of the main veins for the heroin trade is Interstate 75, running through cities such as Toledo and Findlay.

“I think that the [heroin] trade through Findlay needs to be stopped. It creates a negative image for our whole town,” says Matthew Wilkins, senior. Wilkins’ opinion is the typical opinion of students who know about the heroin trade through Findlay.

However, many students are still unaware of Findlay (and Ohio’s) drug problem. “I wasn’t aware that Findlay’s drug trade was that big of a problem,” says Natalie Risser, senior.

Other students say that Findlay is already doing enough to stop the drug trade along I-75. “We already have the Highway Patrol on I-75, so what more can we do? Having patrolmen out there should be enough for us,” says Mac Williams, senior.

Pepper states that the heroin crisis can be beaten back, but there needs to be more cooperation with local authorities. He stated that current Attorney General Mike DeWine’s $1 million anti-heroin group is too vague in its mission, and funding it would take even more funds from local law enforcement.

Pepper also criticized DeWitt, a republican, for acting too partisan about the heroin crisis, an issue that affects the entire state. He cited DeWitt’s lack of opposition to Senate Bill 5 (which would have repealed collective bargaining and was later repealed by Ohio voters) as an example. “The People’s Attorney is supposed to speak up on these types of issues,” said Pepper.

Ohio’s heroin crisis is coming closer and closer to home. With I-75 as one of the main routes of drugs through the state, how long will the Highway Patrol be sufficient for, and what can we in Van Buren do? According to those who criticize the handling of this situation, Findlay should not be saddled with the duty of policing I-75 itself, and other cities and towns along the interstate should pitch in as well. Only time will tell if this reduces the drug trade through Ohio, but it’s certainly better than letting the drug trade run unchecked.