(PORTSMOUTH, Ohio) — Attorney General Mike DeWine toured areas of southern Ohio that have been hit hard by the prescription drug abuse epidemic on Thursday and Friday.
"As Attorney General, I took an oath to protect Ohio families, and fighting Ohio's prescription drug abuse problem is a major part of that commitment. The war on prescription drug abuse has many fronts. It is critical that we work closely with local law enforcement and community leaders to get at the heart of this problem."
On Friday morning, DeWine toured Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) in Portsmouth. As the primary hospital serving six counties in southern Ohio, SOMC treats many patients affected by prescription drug abuse. DeWine's tour focused on SOMC's maternity ward, where in 2009, 64 Scioto County infants were born with prescription drugs in their systems.
"It is absolutely heartbreaking to see babies born with a prescription drug addiction – fighting in their first critical weeks just to stay alive. The good doctors and nurses at the Southern Ohio Medical Center are providing wonderful care. But it is tragic what these drugs are doing to these innocent newborn babies," DeWine said.
DeWine also met with law enforcement officials in Ross, Pike, and Scioto counties to discuss ongoing efforts in the fight against illegal prescription drug trafficking. He was accompanied on his tour by former Adams County Prosecutor Aaron Haslam, who recently was named by the Attorney General to coordinate his office's efforts fighting prescription drug abuse. The Attorney General also has pledged significant financial resources to help local law enforcement and will use the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission to pursue those who illegally distribute prescription drugs.
Dan Tierney (614) 466-3840
Lisa Hackley (614) 466-3840