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WHIO-TV Special Report: Prescription for Pain

Prescription for Pain
Overdose deaths in the Miami Valley
special report

Drug overdoses are killing people here in our region at a faster rate than car crashes. We are investigating what many people call an epidemic in our community, and this prescription for pain often begins at home, in your medicine cabinet.

Young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have made prescription drugs the No. 1 substance abused in that age group, according to the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board of Montgomery County. Experts also say prescription drug abuse often leads to heroin addiction because heroin is cheaper and easier to buy in the streets of Dayton.

Accidental overdose is also the leading cause of death in Ohio. One person dies every three days and at least nine people are rushed to emergency rooms every week.

In 2011, 119 people died from overdoses including prescription drugs and heroin, in Montgomery County alone. That number jumped to 154 deaths last year and is now on track to exceed 250 deaths this year.

Just one pill handed from one classmate to another, claimed the life of a popular Tecumseh High School student. WHIO’s James Brown investigates Cole’s story.
A recent school survey tells us one in six high school seniors in Dayton-area suburbs are at high risk of becoming drug dependent. One in six seventh graders has used alcohol and nearly six percent have used marijuana. WHIO’S Cheryl McHenry reports.
Many of those who die have battled addiction for years. Some of the victims had families who tried to do everything possible to help them. But as Cheryl McHenry reports, their drug habits claimed their lives too soon.
Drugs are taking too many lives, but we discovered our first responders are using a drug to give life back. Layron Livingston explains how Narcan can be the difference between a trip to the hospital or the morgue.
Police say Dayton is a heroin hub featuring cheap prices and a meeting place for dealers to distribute the drug to users from the suburbs and our rural areas. WHIO Videographer Byron Stirsman and reporter James Brown saw first-hand how heroin is impacting our community.
Some experts say we can’t just arrest our way out of the opiate epidemic. As WHIO’s Layron Livingston reports, they believe treatment is the answer.
Reporting by: James Brown, Cheryl McHenry, Layron Livingston | Videography and Editing: Byron Stirsman | Produced by: Becky Grimes |