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Heroin Addiction, Drug-Related Deaths Rise In Clark County

Clark County law enforcement and health officials are ramping up their efforts to battle the recent increase in heroin related deaths and drug-related overdoses.

According to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office, nearly 2,000 Ohioans have died from heroin related overdoses in the past year. Springfield Regional Medical Center has treated more than 100 patients for drug overdoses since January.

Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly said those numbers are staggering, plus, law enforcement has to battle an uptick in crime when people need to find a way to finance their drug habit.

"Our prisons are overcrowded, our children are affected, our communities are affected," he explained. "As a society we've got to make some changes."

Some say those changes need to happen more quickly. Wendy Doolittle is with McKinley Hall, a private non-profit substance abuse treatment facility in Springfield. She says the facility is working to offer help immediately. 

"We have open access, which is same day assessments. That way at the point and time the person is ready to be treated, they are able to come in and receive services as opposed to having to call in and go on a waiting list," she said.

Doolittle says heroin is not the only problem, as other drugs have contributed to a significant rise in drug-related deaths in the past two years in Clark County.