The heroin epidemic has been called the worst drug crisis in American history. The epidemic has impacted nearly everyone in our community, regardless of age, race, education or income. Four out of 5 heroin users started with legal, often times medically prescribed painkillers, before switching to heroin. The reason? Most addicts give the same answer: it’s cheaper.

  • Ohio is ranked #1 in the Nation for heroin overdoses and death.
  • Accidental drug overdoses killed 3,050 people in Ohio last year, an average of eight per day.
  • In 2012, Ohio had more opioid prescriptions than people.
  • Of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17, 28,000 will try heroin this year, while an additional 19,000 will become regular users.



Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that harmful health consequences resulting from the abuse of opioid medications that are prescribed for the treatment of pain, such as OxyContin ®, Vicodin ®, and Demerol ®, has dramatically increased in recent years. For example, unintentional poisoning deaths from prescription opioids quadrupled from 1999 to 2010 and now outnumber those from heroin and cocaine combined. People often assume prescription pain relievers are safer than illicit drugs because they are medically prescribed; however, when these drugs are taken for reasons or in ways or amounts not intended by a doctor, or taken by someone other than the person for whom they are prescribed, they can result in severe adverse health effects including addiction, overdose and death, especially when combined with other drugs or alcohol. Research now suggests that abuse of these medications may actually open the door to heroin use. Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in three recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin.



  • Lucas County Recovery Helpline Call 2-1-1 to connect to mental health and addiction treatment
  • Lucas County Sheriff’s Drug Abuse Response Team Call 419-213-6582
  • State of Ohio Drug Prevention Program
  • Ohio Department of Health
  • Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
  • Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration

If you or someone you know needs assistance, please call Unison Health at 419-693-0631.