A big reason for the surge has been the growing use of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic drug that is similar to morphine and heroin but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Fentanyl was responsible for one-third of the drug overdoses in Ohio last year.
Federal health officials visit Dayton to help combat drug deaths
“The product that they (drug users) are purchasing out there is scary,” Jones-Kelley said. “We’re probably going to experience even more heroin overdoses because it’s so readily available.”
The growing epidemic has put strained the county’s capacity to provide rehab, recovery and detox services.
To stem the tide, COAT — which now has 222 members — has taken several steps in the drug fight, including the establishment of a Sequential Intercept Mapping process, which is designed to help communities assess their resources, gaps and opportunities for collaboration at different “intercept points,” where officials can offer diversion or behavioral health intervention instead of incarceration.
Heroin addicts could go to treatment instead of jail
It’s a multi-layered approach that requires a collaborative effort, Jones-Kelley said: “This is a convening of key stakeholders from across the entire community that have come together as a team to figure out how we solve this critical problem. We know we’ll beat this over time.”