Summit County executive declares state of emergency over opioid crisis

Communities nationwide are struggling with the unprecidented heroin and opioid pain pill epidemic. On March 15, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), announced guidelines for doctors to reduce the amount of opioid painkillers prescribed nationwide, in an effort to curb the epidemic. The CDC estimates that most new heroin addicts first became hooked on prescription pain medication before graduating to heroin, which is stronger and cheaper. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

AKRON, Ohio– Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro signed a proclamation on Wednesday declaring a state of emergency over the opioid crisis.

Shapiro addressed the move during her state of the county address. In the document, she requests state and federal funding to help with the problem.

“This is not just a hollow battle cry. It is the product of careful consideration and planning with our county incident management assistance team,” Shapiro said.

“I am confident that if and when funds are accessible, Summit County will move to the front of the line, not just because of our need, but due to our careful planning and preparedness.”

Summit County also plans to file a lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of prescription opiates.

In May, Ohio became the second state to file suit against drug companies for downplaying the risks of Oxycontin and Percocet. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said that lead to people seeking cheaper and more accessible ways of dealing with chronic pain and addiction, like heroin.

“The misleading nature of how these medications were marketed to Summit County residents has caused so much devastation and it is time to say, ‘No more in Summit County,'” Shapiro said.

This summer, the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office was forced to bring in a mobile morgue to deal with the surge in heroin overdoses.

For more information on dealing with heroin and opioid addiction, click here