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For Ohioans, Opioid and Heroin Abuse Is Increasingly Personal

Ohio Health Issues Poll

More than one-fourth of Ohioans say they have friends or family members who are abusing prescription pain relievers, and nearly as many say they know someone abusing heroin. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more from the latest Ohio Health Issues Poll.

Abuse and overdose trends
Credit Ohio Health Issues Poll
Ohio Health Issues Poll
Abuse and overdose trends

The survey shows close to a third of white women in Ohio have friends or family abusing painkillers or heroin. Kelly Firesheets of the Health Issues Poll says that’s grown significantly since the 2014 survey – and is higher than any other single group.

Firesheets says the way to slow the abuse is a balance of prevention, intervention, treatment and – especially -- long-term recovery – modeled along the lines of how Ohio deals with other chronic health problems.

“They’re off of the drug that they’re addicted to or they’re using medication assisted therapies to stay sober and get productive. They need supportive resources in their lives so they can manage that chronic disease.”

The survey shows more than a third of people under age 30 know someone using heroin -- a greater share than any other age group. But even among those 65 and older – 1-in-10 says a friend or family member is using the drug. 

M.L. Schultze is a freelance journalist. She spent 25 years at The Repository in Canton where she was managing editor for nearly a decade, then served as WKSU's news director and digital editor until her retirement.