CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The heroin epidemic in Ohio now kills one person in the state every five hours and kills more people each year than car accidents do.
All this week on FOX 8 News at 6, I-Team Reporter Bill Sheil examines the growth of the epidemic and what can be done to stem the deadly tide.
The I-Team first reported on the trend three years ago, tracing the epidemic to its southern Ohio roots and showing how it started primarily with legal prescriptions to opiates -- heroin's legal cousins with names such as Oxycodone and Oxycontin.
Ed Hughes, who runs the Counseling Center in Portsmouth in southern Ohio, says the epidemic "started between pharmaceutical companies and some primary care physicians."
This week, the I-Team will show you how the epidemic has spread to every age and income group, how it even affects newborn babies, what treatments are showing promise, and what government is now doing to try to respond.
U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach says battling the epidemic is a top policing priority of the Justice Department in northern Ohio.
The chances someone you know may be affected by this problem is probably greater than you think.
One estimate suggested that as many as 40,000 to 70,000 people in our area may have an addiction issue with street heroin or opiate pills.
"Heroin Hits Home" will air all this week on FOX 8 News at 6.