Stark numbers show heroin’s local grip

Published: Friday, January 13, 2017 @ 3:47 PM
Updated: Friday, January 13, 2017 @ 3:47 PM

Dayton Police took this syringe as evidence following an overdose call on Sept. 20, 2016. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Chris Stewart
Dayton Police took this syringe as evidence following an overdose call on Sept. 20, 2016. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF(Chris Stewart)

An average of seven Montgomery County residents a day were treated for drug overdoses by emergency departments in 2016, and one person alone made eight trips to the ER. Eleven people were treated twice in the same day for overdoses.

The stark figures — amassed largely due to a devastating heroin epidemic — are found in a new Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County report just sent to members of a Community Overdose Action Team formed last year to slow the number of overdose deaths in the county.

Overall, 2,255 Montgomery County patients received emergency treatment last year for overdoses. Almost 13 percent — or 287 patients — made multiple trips to an emergency department.

RELATED: Ohio tops nation in opioid overdoses

The 12-page report was not distributed to alarm the community, but rather to assist local officials in analyzing overdose trends and finding solutions, said Dan Suffoletto, spokesman for Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.

“The reason for sending this out is to show an example of how we get data here to make decisions and distribute resources when an anomaly occurs,” Suffoletto said.

RELATED: More potent drugs raise stakes in Ohio’s fight against opioids

Hospital and urgent care emergency data — stripped of identifying information — are reported in near real time to the Ohio Department of Health’s EpiCenter, the state’s syndromic surveillance system. The system, traditionally used to monitor influenza pandemics and detect environmental exposures and potential bioterrorism, was expanded in 2015 to monitor drug-related emergency room visits.

Miami Valley Hospital saw 968 — or 33.6 percent — of the county’s overdose patients in 2016. Good Samaritan Hospital received 588 (20.4 percent) patients followed by Grandview Medical Center with 380 (13.2 percent), Kettering Memorial Hospital with 239 (8.3 percent), and Sycamore Hospital with 201 (7 percent).

RELATED: Dayton tops list of drugged-out cities

Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley said up-to-date information will help the Community Overdose Action Team he leads meet its goal of first stabilizing and then reducing the number of overdose deaths. In 2015, the last year for which full records are available, 259 people died of unintentional overdose deaths in Montgomery County.

“We need good data to help us target our limited resources as we work toward reducing the number of opiate deaths in our community,” Foley said. “This report about emergency room usage due to drug overdose incidents is the kind of information that the community will begin to see on a more frequent basis.”

RELATED: Montgomery County to combat overdose deaths like public health crisis

The team is comprised of representatives from many community organizations including Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County, the Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services board of Montgomery County, Dayton Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, and others including those in the courts and criminal justice system.

More than 60 percent of the emergency department visits were by patients between the ages of 25 and 49. Overall, males accounted for 54 percent of emergency department visits. Girls under 17, however, were more than three times as likely to be treated for an overdose than boys.

The report represents an estimate of overdoses based on a the chief complaint registered when a patient enters an emergency department. Further, the report is not limited to opioid overdoses. In recent years, opioids accounted for more than 90 percent of overdose deaths in the county.

Our reporters have closely followed the heroin crisis for years with an eye toward those working on solutions to a complex public health crisis. Find previous stories on our premium website

By the numbers

2,255: Number of Montgomery County patients who received emergency treatment last year for overdoses.

13: Percentage of those patients who made multiple trips to the emergency room.

259: Number of people who died of unintentional overdose deaths in Montgomery County in 2015.

11: Number of people who were treated twice in the same day in 2016.

Source: Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County

Lose the belly pooch: 7 do’s and don’ts to accomplish a flat stomach 

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 4:15 PM
Updated: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 4:15 PM

Even after you've managed to drop some pounds, your stomach may still have a persistent pooch Fat in this location has been linked to an increased risk of serious issues With the Flat Belly Diet, reduce belly fat by increasing your consumption of monosaturated fatty acids The diet's emphasis on magnesium may reduce inflammation and the level of bad bacteria in your stomach In addition to taking a look at the Flat Belly Diet, consider these dietary changes to help reduce abdominal fat Peppermint and chamom

When you're trying to lose weight and get in shape, belly fat can be one of the hardest problems to address. 

Even after you've managed to drop some pounds, your stomach may still have a persistent pooch.

In addition to making it harder to get into your jeans, belly fat may also have a negative impact on your overall health. Fat in this location has been linked to an increased risk of serious issues such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.

RELATED: Considering the paleo diet? Here’s what you need to know

The Flat Belly Diet

If you're looking for a diet that helps you achieve a flat stomach, there's one designed just for that purpose – the Flat Belly Diet. Created by a former Prevention magazine editor and a registered dietitian, the diet aims to reduce belly fat by increasing your consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids. The diet's creators say these types of fats target abdominal fat and promote fullness, so you'll lose overall weight as well as belly fat.

You'll find monounsaturated fats in foods like olive oil, nuts, seeds and chocolate.

FILE — Sliced almonds (Karsten Moran/The New York Times)(KARSTEN MORAN/NYT)

WebMD doubts claims that the diet specifically targets belly fat, but the site’s experts note that if assists in overall weight loss, you should also lose belly fat. Dr. Oz, on the other hand, said that the diet may work. He touts the diet's emphasis on magnesium, which he says may reduce inflammation and the level of bad bacteria in your stomach. This type of bacteria has been linked to weight gain.

What to add to your diet

In addition to taking a look at the Flat Belly Diet, consider these dietary changes to help reduce abdominal fat.

 Peppermint and chamomile tea: These types of tea help ease digestion and help your body dissolve gas, which can reduce bloating, according to

Constipation distends your belly, so a daily dose of fiber in the morning can keep your digestive system moving.. (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)

 Fiber-rich cereal: Constipation distends your belly, so a daily dose of fiber in the morning can keep your digestive system moving. says high-fiber cereals that contain two types of fiber – insoluble (from bran) and soluble (from psyllium) – are good choices.

 Yogurt: It contains probiotics, which can help balance the bacteria in your stomach and prevent bloating. says yogurt is also packed with protein, so it can help you feel full.

File photo. (Photo illustration by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)(Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

 Cucumbers: According to, cucumbers help reduce swelling and bloating due to their high water content and quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant.

What to limit


Alcohol: Some types of alcohol are loaded with calories. According to, these calories can't be stored for later, so your metabolism has to focus on the alcohol rather than on burning fat.

Sodium: Sodium makes you retain water, which increases your belly bloat. Stop salting your food, but also look at the salt content on pre-packaged foods, which are an even greater source of sodium for most people, according to

Do you need 8 glasses of water per day? 6 myths and truths about drinking water

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 1:49 PM
Updated: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 1:49 PM

Here are six of the most prominent myths about drinking water Myth #1: Drinking lots of water will curb your appetite Fact: The only weight-loss benefit of drinking lots of water is that it keeps your mouth too busy to eat Myth #2: You might be thirsty when you think you're hungry Fact: You're probably hungry when you think you're hungry Myth #3: You need to chugalug water constantly or risk imminent dehydration Fact: A healthy diet and drinking when you're thirsty will hydrate you just fine Myth #4: You

Just like the old saying, "water, water everywhere," myths about drinking water are also everywhere. 

Some of them are hype from marketers or overzealous trainers, but most are just misconceptions that have been accepted into the culture. Knowing the truth can help you with healthy hydration and might even save you some anxiety or some hard-earned money.

» RELATED: Considering the water diet? Here’s what you need to know 

Certainly, staying hydrated does contribute to overall health, according to experts like Dr. Angie Eakin, a family medicine physician at Barnard Medical Center in Washington, D.C. 
"Every single cell in your body needs fluid to function properly," she told "That's why even mild dehydration can make you irritable, foggy-headed, and headachy."
But numerous misconceptions have flowed from the basic principle that staying hydrating is a good thing.

Here are six of the most prominent myths about drinking water, followed by the icy cold truths:

6 myths about drinking water, debunked

Myth: Drinking lots of water will curb your appetite.
Fact: The only weight-loss benefit of drinking lots of water is that it keeps your mouth too busy to eat.

As part of coverage on the "Top 10 Fitness Myths," Fitness magazine experts crushed the dieting myth that drinking lots of water makes you less hungry. "Sorry to tell you this," the Fitness editors wrote. "You may eat less, because you're too busy trucking back and forth between the bathroom and dinner table, but that's about it."

Myth: You might be thirsty when you think you're hungry.
Fact: You're probably hungry when you think you're hungry.

While boredom, habit or stress might make you eat when you're not hungry, your body is unlikely to mix up hunger and thirst, Penn State nutrition professor Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., told The sensations aren't even similar. "They feel different and are regulated by separate mechanisms in your body," Rolls said. When you need hydration, cell and blood volumes tank, giving you an unpleasantly dry, tacky-feeling mouth. There's little chance you'll mistake that for the sensation of hunger, which takes cues from gut hormones, nutrients and glucose and is signaled with a rumbling stomach and a sensation of emptiness.

Myth: You need to chugalug water constantly or risk imminent dehydration.
Fact: A healthy diet and drinking when you're thirsty will hydrate you just fine.

There's no need to constantly gulp down water, according to Rolls. As she told, the moisture in food alone provides about 20 percent of the fluid you need. Instead of randomly chugging water throughout the day, Rolls recommended avoiding dry foods like heavily processed crackers and filling up on hydrating produce like cucumbers, which are 97 percent water. Do that and drink water when you're thirsty, and your hydration levels should be fine, Rolls said.

Myth: You can overhydrate easily.
Fact: It's unusual to drink too much water.

People commonly worry about the risk of drinking too much water, but that's low on the list of concerns, said Nicole G. Morgan, a registered dietitian and nutritionist who practices in Atlanta.
She said overhydrating is much more difficult than most people think. "You would have to consume your full water requirement for the day in a short time frame for it to become dangerous." To avoid even this slight danger of drinking too much water, Morgan recommended spreading out an increase in water intake over the course of a day. "That approach to hydration is generally regarded as safe and healthy," she said.

Myth: Bottled water fortified with electrolytes is healthier.
Fact: Most Americans don't need fortified drinks.

In a 2015   evaluation of coconut water and other sports drinks, Consumer Reports concluded that most Americans don't need fortified bottled water. The consumer watchdog noted that the labels on the drinks said they contained added electrolytes, minerals that help regulate muscle function and water balance, which can be lost during long intense workouts. CR then concluded that few people in America exercise so vigorously as to need to replenish electrolytes. 
CR also quoted Leslie Bonci, a dietitian and director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who said, "Any liquid is going to be hydrating, even coffee. Do vitamins and minerals add to hydration? No. What's hydrating is the fluid."

Myth: Everyone needs eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
Fact: There's no basic rule about how much water you need to stay hydrated.

This is one of the most widespread myths about drinking water, but on closer examination it really doesn't hold up, according to diet and nutrition experts at Consumer Reports on Health in a recent report on "How to Stay Hydrated." They noted that an appropriate amount of water per day can vary "a good bit" from person to person. In general, people who are heavier or taller or more active need to take in more water to cover their losses. In addition, hot or humid weather might increase a person's need for water intake.
 To make sure you get enough water, CR experts recommended taking these steps:

  • Drink before you feel parched. 
  • Sip small amounts throughout the day, instead of worrying about downing a full glass of water all at once.
  • Carry a water bottle with you so you can drink when you're thirsty.
  • Remember that all beverages count towards hydration, except for the ones that contain alcohol.
Even caffeinated drinks count towards hydration, Janet Mentes, Ph.D., a professor at the UCLA School of Nursing, told CR. While coffee and tea and some sodas are mild diuretics that can cause you to urinate more often, they add more to your liquid stores than you'll lose from extra urination, she said.

Mom shares heartbreaking photo after daughter dies from heroin overdose

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 2:47 AM

What You Need To Know About Heroin

The American opioid epidemic claimed another victim Monday

>> Watch the news report here

The mother of 22-year-old Elaina Towery shared a gut-wrenching photograph of her clutching her daughter just moments before she was taken off life support at a Detroit hospital.

>> See the photo here

Elaina reportedly died due to an overdose of heroin laced with fentanyl. She fell into a coma on Thursday.

Cheryl Towery, 49, told WJBK that her daughter had been battling addiction for seven years.

“She’s my only daughter, my best friend,” Cheryl said. “She was supposed to start her new job today; now she’s on life support.”

>> Doctor saves woman overdosing on flight

She told WJBK that her daughter and a friend had stopped at a Detroit Burger King last week. Elaina went inside to use the restroom. After about 20 to 25 minutes, her friend thought it was odd that she had not returned. Shortly afterward, a Burger King employee found Elaina unconscious on the bathroom floor.

Only moments earlier, Cheryl said, she had received a text message saying her daughter would be home soon.

“By 6 p.m., 6:30, 7, I finally got a message on Facebook,” Cheryl said.

>> How heroin changes our brains and more things to know about the drug

She said her daughter had gone into cardiac arrest.

Elaina had survived five previous overdoses and visits to five different treatment centers, Cheryl said.

“I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in the emergency room,” Cheryl said. “Because that’s the worst I’ve ever seen her.”

She said her daughter’s addiction began in 2010, when she started to abuse prescription drugs to deal with an abusive boyfriend. That boyfriend, who was convicted of domestic abuse and other crimes, is also the father of Elaina’s 5-year-old son, Christopher. She gave up her son due to her addiction, Cheryl said.

What is Fentanyl?

Cheryl believes Elaina giving up her baby contributed to her addiction problems. She was also working as a prostitute, Cheryl told WJBK.

“[She was] beat up, being pimped out, being kept in a hotel room on heroin,” Cheryl said.

>> Read more trending news

Cheryl said she made the decision remove Elaina from life support on Monday after it became clear that her daughter's vital organs were failing and that there was no brain activity.

“I’m going to fight for the rest of my life to make sure the people down here on the street selling this to people need to be locked up,” she said.

Bodybuilding mother of 2 reportedly dies of protein overdose

Published: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 @ 12:38 PM

Bodybuilder With Genetic Disorder Likely Killed By Protein Supplements

A bodybuilding competitor and mom of two reportedly died June 22 from a protein overdose, according to Perth Now.

Meegan Hefford, a 25-year-old from Mandurah, Australia, was discovered to have a urea cycle disorder, which blocks the body from correctly breaking down protein.

Time Inc.(Time)

Hefford was preparing for a bodybuilding competition in September and consuming various protein supplements, her mother, Michelle White, tells Perth Now. Hefford had told her mom in June that she was feeling tired and “weird.”

“I said to her, ‘I think you’re doing too much at the gym, calm down, slow it down,” White said.

Hefford was found unconscious in her apartment on June 19 and rushed to the hospital, where it took doctors two days to diagnose her with urea cycle disorder. By that point, the buildup of ammonia in her blood and fluid in her brain was too much, and she was declared brain dead the next day.

Coroners listed “intake of bodybuilding supplements” as one of Hefford’s causes of death, along with the disorder.

When your girl gets a sneaky little photo of your back while training arms 🙊

A post shared by • MEEGAN HEFFORD • (@meeganheff) on

Her family is now calling for tighter restrictions on protein supplements.

“I know there are people other than Meegan who have ended up in hospital because they’ve overloaded on supplements,” White said. “The sale of these products needs to be more regulated.”

Hefford was studying paramedicine while working part-time at a hospital. She leaves behind her two children, a 7-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son.