Must Reads 2016: How the opioid epidemic is impacting southwest Ohio


The Dayton Daily News is highlighting the best work of 2016 with the year-ending Must Reads campaign.

The opioid epidemic continues to plague the state of Ohio. One national ranking earlier this year put Dayton No. 1 on its list of “most drugged out cities in America.” Solving the problem has become a priority for lawmakers and community leaders.

Here's a look at how the issue is affecting southwest Ohio.

» Complete Reading: Must Reads 2016

April 2: "Treatment seen as critical front in heroin war"

Making a serious dent in the heroin problem requires more than keeping addicts alive with a wonder drug or attacking the supply chain. It means attacking the demand with the right treatment — and the right length of treatment.

And it requires that those in the throes of addiction make the painful choice to break through the cycle.

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April 8: "Kids staying longer in foster care"

A potential consequence of the area’s heroin crisis is that children are enduring longer stays in foster care because unification efforts with their families have failed, interviews with child welfare experts and data compiled by this newspaper suggest.

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July 5: "Heroin addicts could go to treatment instead of jail under new program"

A new program will try to stop the revolving door where heroin addicts find themselves in trouble with the law, in jail and back on the streets only to repeat the cycle.

The Front Door Initiative aims to push heroin and fentanyl users who come into contact with police – typically through emergency overdose calls — into outpatient treatment immediately instead of jail.

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Sept. 28: "Extra-lethal heroin raising alarms throughout Ohio"

“It’s in our backyard. It’s here in our close region,” said Ken Betz director of the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab. “Dayton people can clearly buy some.”

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Oct. 7: "More potent drugs raise stakes in Ohio’s fight against opioids"

The nation is now painfully familiar with the opiates that cause death: prescription pain pills, heroin and fentanyl. But the raging opioid epidemic has also introduced Americans to a drug that literally brings people back to life from an opioid overdose.

Naloxone — often called by the brand name Narcan — is known as the “Lazarus drug.”

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