Saturday, July 01, 2017

First It Was An Opioid Epidemic, Now It's A Terrorist Attack

WaPo |  There is an ongoing terrorist attack happening in Ohio. It has nothing to do with the Islamic State or political anarchists. The weapons in this case come in the form of heroin and other opioids, and the terrorists are the pushers who spread the deadly poison.

From the Columbus Dispatch this spring: “At least 4,149 Ohioans died from unintentional drug overdoses in 2016, a 36 percent leap from just the previous year, when Ohio had by far the most overdose deaths in the nation. . . . Many coroners said that 2017’s overdose fatalities are outpacing 2016’s.”

Consider that number — 4,149 overdose deaths in Ohio in one year, more than the number who died on 9/11. 

The worst of the state’s opioid problems are here in southern Ohio. The Highland County coroner provided our newspaper, the Times-Gazette, with a recap of cases from 2016 showing at least 16 overdose deaths in this small rural county. He also pointed to 50 deaths during the year from other causes where drug use or a history of drug use were present.

Even non-fatal overdoses are taxing local resources. During the first three weeks of May, emergency responders answered calls to at least 18 overdoses around the county, almost three times as many as during the same period a year ago. The public information officer for the local fire and emergency medical services department called it “the new normal.”

This is all happening around little Hillsboro, a town often compared with television’s idyllic Mayberry. With the FBI reporting that most heroin enters the United States from Mexico, and local officials saying that it then makes its way here through metropolitan drug rings, it’s no wonder that few people in Hillsboro think President Trump’s border security plans are extreme.

Like other forms of terrorism, the opioid attack will have a generational impact, in this case in a foster-care crisis being left in its wake.