MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – Officials fear an increase when data comes out next week on the number of heroin overdose deaths in the Miami Valley, so they are already taking one big step you’ll likely notice, to fight what they say is now an epidemic.
Two digital billboards will be on display, one on U.S. 35 and another on State Route 725, starting Monday.
They are graphic images of what can happen if you try heroin and they include a number you can call to get help.
Officials say this is part of the effort to go along with treatment and enforcement to reduce the number of heroin users in the area.
So, why is it such a problem here? One theory is that as it is become harder to get prescription pills, many are turning to heroin because it is cheap.
Sheriff Phil Plummer says the heroin epidemic impacts everyone because many of the crimes in the area from shootings to thefts stem from heroin.
“We can’t arrest our way out of this problem,” Plummer says. “This is a community problem, a social problem and we need to work together to combat this problem.”
We wanted to know if the billboards will make a difference.
“You can never make the case just these billboards are going to solve the problem,” says Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley. “We’re hoping that if someone is driving by this and if they’re addicted or a family member who’s really worried about one of the members of their family that it prods them to some action.”
The cost of the billboards is about $5,200. Key Ads is donating matching time for them. They’ll be up for a month.
The sheriff’s office is looking for donations to be able to do more outreach.