Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced disturbing new figures about the use of heroin in the state. The data, gathered from coroners across the state, show that the use of heroin has increased 107% over the last four years.

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COLUMBUS -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today held a news conference to announce disturbing new figures about the use of heroin in the state. The data, gathered from coroners across the state, show that the use of heroin has increased dramatically over the last four years.

"Communities have to wake up. If you don't think you have a problem, you are probably wrong," said DeWine. "Local law enforcement understands the problem. As I have traveled the state, over and over sheriffs and police and coroners tell me how bad it is. Unfortunately, there are people out there who don't believe heroin is really in their communities. They don't want to believe that this can be them -- that this can be their child who is addicted or who is going to die from a heroin overdose. The numbers tell a different story. We know that, at minimum, 606 families across this state were directly impacted in 2012 by a heroin death," said DeWine.

DeWine announced a new effort his office is undertaking to assist law enforcement agencies, community leaders and Ohio residents in this fight.

The attorney general's Heroin Unit, which will include investigators, lawyers, and drug abuse awareness specialists, will assist in combating issues associated with the heroin epidemic, such as crime, addiction and overdose deaths.

"New data our office has gathered suggests 11 people die in Ohio every week from a heroin overdose," said DeWine.

The decision to create the specialized unit was made after new data gathered by the attorney general's office in the past month revealed a 107 percent increase in heroin deaths among more than half of Ohio's counties. The data was collected from 47 Ohio coroner's offices with complete heroin overdose data for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The results are as follows:

  • 2010: 292 heroin overdose deaths
  • 2011: 395 heroin overdose deaths
  • 2012: 606 heroin overdose deaths

The reporting counties with the largest number of heroin overdoses in 2012 include:

  • Cuyahoga County: 161
  • Franklin County: 73
  • Hamilton County: 54
  • Montgomery County: 93
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