During the recent Addiction Forum, co-hosted by the Newark Advocate, participants from much local public and non-profit agencies, recovering addicts, family members impacted by addiction, and other concerned residents, met to discuss the impacts, causes, and solutions to Licking County’s addiction crisis.
It became clear from the conversations, that while Licking County has an opioid problem, evidenced by the overdose emergency responses and fatalities, opioids are just one drug in a broad spectrum of substances abused. In fact, those suffering from addiction are often using multiple drugs, and opioids like heroin, and especially fentanyl, are what triggers a critical overdose. Other drugs often have similarly devastating outcomes resulting from damage done over years of abuse, or from the consequences of poor decisions made while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Ohio’s strategies to address the opioid problem focus both on opioid-specific strategies, and on general addiction prevention and recovery initiatives.
Expanding access to naloxone, to reverse opioid overdose deaths is a harm reduction strategy that aims to keep people alive, so that they have an opportunity to seek treatment and recovery. Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone) initiatives, like the one offered through the Licking County Health Department, have distributed thousands of naloxone kits to families and friends of those addicted to opioids, as well as law enforcement and first responders.