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Montgomery Co. Officials Using Billboards for Heroin Prevention
MONTGOMERY COUNTY -- One person dies every three days from a drug overdose. That's two times higher than the State of Ohio's rate. The worst of the drugs in Montgomery County is heroin with almost 60%.
On Tuesday, the Sheriff's Office and the Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board announced they will each be funding a billboard to put in different areas of town.
The billboards highlight the deadly problem in the county and encourage people to call the crisis help line.
"The people who are dying are not junkies who are shooting up in some dark alley," said Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley. "The people who are dying are our mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers."
"In 2012, 680 people died of heroin overdose across the state. A 30% increase from 2011. Next week our 2013 numbers will come out," said Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plumber.
Foley and Plumber both predict next week's in-depth study for heroin use in Montgomery County will show continual increase.
Here are some current numbers when it comes to the deaths in the county:
o 2010 = 127 deaths
o 2011 = 130 deaths
o 2012 = 162 deaths
o 2013 = 225 deaths
On average, 500 Montgomery County residents are taken to emergency rooms or the coroner's office each year after a drug overdose.
We showed these numbers to local residents.
"It's a lot," said Toni Davis who has known people who have used the drug. "Most people who use heroin need it when they wake up in the morning if they're addicted to it. They have to have it to be able to cope."
"If we don't do more to create awareness of this epidemic and prevent people from experimenting with heroin that first time, then we are going to have a lot tougher time breaking the cycle of addiction," said Foley.
One of the billboards will be located on U.S. 35 near Steve Whalen Blvd. The other one will be at the intersection of S.R. 741 and S.R. 725 in front of the Dayton Mall.
"We are not naive. We don't think that two billboards are going to turn this thing around," said Foley. "What we are hoping is this will be a very visual top of mind message to the community that there are people in the community who want to help them."
Each digital billboard will cost $2600 per month.
"We are asking the community to help us because we don't have enough money right now to keep these billboards up as long as we need to," said Foley.
Foley says he hopes to keep the billboards up to help bring the growing heroin numbers down.
The billboards will go up at midnight Memorial Day morning.
If you would like to help donate, call the Sheriff's Office at 937-225-4009.
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