DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — This year, there have been about 47,000 deaths due to heroin or prescription painkiller, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It was a battle with addiction Brian Hawk said led up to him sharing a deadly overdose of heroin with Jeffrey Clark, 44, in May 2014.
“He suffered with a lot of the same demons I suffered with that being drug addiction,” said Brian Hawk to a Montgomery County judge on Wednesday.
It is a story people at the ADAMHS Board hear everyday.
“When people come here, their stories vary from, ‘I have pain and I just want to get relief from the pain’ to ‘I don’t feel worthwhile,'” said Helen Jones-Kelley, Executive Director for the ADAMHS Board.
But Jones-Kelley said there are some misconceptions in the public about how to stop heroin.
“It’s a brain illness and the way that you treat the brain illness is by treating the addiction,” said Jones-Kelley.
It is part of education, intervention, and treatment, community leaders hope will stop an epidemic.
“I think it’s going to be a combined effort of all of us working together in combating this heroin problem,” said Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck, Jr. “We’ve seen this before in other types of drugs.”
But for those responsible for a deadly overdose, drug dealer or not, Heck said there will be consequences.
“We’re going to find you,” said Heck. “We’re going to charge you. We’re going to prosecute you and we’re going to ask the court and argue to the court that you be sentenced to the penitentiary for that individual’s death.”
It is why community leaders ask people to seek help before it is too late.
“The best way for heroin to be stopped, based upon what we know right now, is for people to have information about what it does to them as well as to their loved ones and their community,” said Jones-Kelley.