During the first month of 2017, 12 drug overdose deaths were recorded by Mahoning County Coroner’s Office, as opposed to only four that occurred during the same month of 2016. However, deaths in themselves are not the only issue that comes with abusing drugs, says deputy coroner and forensic pathologist, Dr. Joseph Ohr. The consequences of drug abuse stretch beyond the coroner’s office, he says. Dr. Ohr said the coroner’s office is just the tip of the iceberg and the fact that an increase in the death toll can be observed so early in the year leads him to believe that the nation could face a violent rise in the number of individuals that die from overdosing on heroin in the near future.
As of 2016, Mahoning County Coroner’s Office recorded 91 drug-overdose death cases. However, the costs associated with the heroin epidemic that stretch far beyond the coroner’s office to the health care system and the taxpayers are piling up.
Hence, as the emergency teams respond to a drug overdose case, it is not just about the cost of Narcan that rises up to $20 per dose. Reviving someone on the brink of death because of a drug overdose comes at a cost equal to $1,200, says Dr. Ohr, as the patient must be taken to the emergency room, treated, and monitored until the individual fully recovers.
In an effort to stop the opioid epidemic, prosecutors and law enforcement are actively and aggressively pursuing prosecution of drug dealers. Unfortunately, this also comes at a price and increases costs to taxpayers, added Dr. Joseph Ohr.
Commissioner Anthony Traficanti believes that most heroin addicts resort to using the drug because it is cheaper than prescription painkillers. He says that until the government fully removes heroin from the streets and comes up with more severe penalties for those who distribute the drug to the population, the perpetuating epidemic won’t come to an end anytime soon.
He added that even though the costs associated with the opioid epidemic are staggering, everybody deserves a second chance and strongly supports rehab centers and believes in resuscitating those who overdose on drugs.
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