Officials say Nalaxone is being used at an alarming rate in Gahanna
First responders in Mifflin Township say they are using the life saving heroin antidote, Nalaxone, at an alarming rate. Mifflin Township and Gahanna officials shared their concerns to the community at an opiate town hall meeting.
Gahanna Police say they've seen an increase in crime in the city and they believe a growing heroin problem is to blame.
Officials alerted the community to the issue Thursday night.
Even in suburbia the heroin problem holds a tight grip. The Mifflin Township Fire Chief says no place is immune.
"It does affect us here. It's in our homes, our schools, in our workplace," Chief Fred Kauser said.
Heroin is in Gahanna, but some residents already know that.
"I have an active heroin addict in my home. My daughter," Malaina Daniels said.
Daniels calls it the devil drug.
"I'm hoping that some of these people will become more educated and realize that it is a serious problem," Daniels said.
The heroin problem in Gahanna has grown so much it brought Daniels and more than 50 other community members to an opiate town hall meeting Thursday night.
"Last year from 2015 to 2016 we saw an 80% increase in the number of overdoses our staff responded to," Chief Kauser said.
Daniels wanted to learn something new and she says she wanted her community to do the same.
"I learned that eventually I had to talk about it, to educate myself and to educate others," Daniels said.
Mifflin Township Fire, Gahanna Police, city and county officials shared what they call alarming numbers. Gahanna Police say they've responded to 40 drug related calls since last July. Of those, 5 were fatal and the ages of those who needed help ranged from 65 to 13.
Chief Kauser said the first step in finding a solution started at the meeting at Clark Hall.
"We just felt like it's time to step into this," Chief Kauser said.
Chief Kauser has plans to form a Community Health Action Team made up of fire, police, school, church, and health officials to help combat the heroin problem. He says he needs Gahanna neighbors to step in too because this affects the entire community.
It affects the whole family," Daniels said.
Ohio is getting some help to combat this epidemic. The state will receive $26 million in grant money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the fight against heroin.