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DeWine Conducts Springfield Town Hall On Drug Abuse

Wayne Baker

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine brought the buckeye state's war on drugs to Clark County Wednesday afternoon.

A panel of health experts and law enforcement held a town hall meeting at Springfield High School to discuss Ohio's ongoing battle against drug abuse.

At the forum, DeWine presented staggering numbers regarding Ohioans who have died from overdoses in the past year - almost 2,000 heroin related deaths alone.

"And that is not even talking about the prescription drug problem which is pretty much the same problem," says DeWine.  "So you may have 3 or 4,000 people who died last year of opiate overdoses."

Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly  says that parents need to get involved with law enforcement even if it means tough love for  their children.

"A parent can love their child and turn them in because they need help," Kelly says. "I've had parents call me and tell me 'thank you I know my child is safe - they're in the Clark County Jail and they are not in the street.'" 

In 2011, Danielle Smoot lost her 16-year-old son Cole when he tried methadone for the first time. She founded Cole's Warriors, to help fight drug abuse in the schools and the community.  

"Even though he is no longer living,  I will continue to do everything I possibly can  for him and in his name and his honor," Smoot says.

Heroin seizures made by the State Highway Patrol are up, and Attorney General DeWine says he will continue to hold forums around the state to bring attention to the drug problem in Ohio.