(CANTON) — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine gave the keynote address this morning at the Stark County Law Enforcement breakfast in Canton.
In his remarks, Attorney General DeWine said his "top priority" is law enforcement and outlined his vision for how his office can assist local law enforcement through the state's crime lab — the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) and through training by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA), also part of the Attorney General's Office.
"I will be an attorney general who thinks like a prosecutor. It was as Greene County prosecutor that I saw first-hand the pain and anguish of crime victims and their families. I have never forgotten that — and I never will," DeWine said.
In addition to talking about his office's law enforcement priorities, Attorney General DeWine spoke about the growing problem of prescription drug abuse in Ohio.
While the nation has seen prescription drug overdose deaths double between 1999 and 2006, the rate in Ohio has tripled.
DeWine gave an example of the problems of "pill mills" that dispense many more pills per resident than can be reasonably expected. In rural Scioto County — a county of only 76,000 — there are at least eight "pill mills" that pump out more than 35 million oxycodone and hydrocodone pills per year. This figure represents 460 pills for every Scioto County resident.
"This practice of prescription diversion is a lucrative business. For example, a bottle of OxyContin 80 mg tablets, which normally costs $700 to $800 at the pharmacy, has a street value of $7,000 to $8,000," DeWine said.
"This is a serious problem that is hurting our communities, and tomorrow I will announce my office's plan to tackle the prescription drug problem in Ohio," DeWine added.
DeWine will hold a press conference on his office's commitment to ending prescription drug abuse at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011, in the Attorney General's Office on the 17th Floor of the Rhodes State Office Tower, 30 E. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio.
Lisa Hackley: (614) 644-0508