COLUMBUS – In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine Wednesday released a new resource that can be used to help inform the public on how to recognize opiate addiction or an opiate overdose.
The “Drug Addiction Affects All Ohioans” poster, created by the Attorney General’s Heroin Unit in partnership with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities, lists the warning signs of opioid abuse or addiction and the signs of an overdose. It also includes a statewide hotline number that those looking for assistance can call.
One in five Ohio residents knows someone struggling with heroin addiction.
“Many people might not realize that a friend or family member is battling addiction because they don’t know the signs,” said DeWine. “Printing and displaying this poster is a simple way to help spread awareness.”
As part of the services the Attorney General’s Heroin Unit provides to local government and law enforcement authorities, a localized poster can be created with partnering agencies to include information on local resources. Summit County Public Health and Hamilton County Public Health are among the local agencies currently distributing a customized version of the poster to local businesses.
Signs of opioid abuse or addiction include:
• Sudden dramatic weight loss
• Changes in expected emotional response and rapid mood swings
• Dramatic changes in sleep patterns
• Constipation without reasonable explanation
• Small or pinpoint pupils
• Unexplained missing personal items and money
Symptoms of an opioid overdose include:
• Bluish nail beds and lips, pale or grayish skin tone
• Noisy and irregular breathing, respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest
Attorney General DeWine created the Heroin Unit in 2013 after information gathered by the Attorney General’s Office revealed an increasing rate of heroin overdose deaths across the state. The unit is made up of authorities from the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), Special Prosecutions Section, and Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission. The unit also includes education and outreach specialists from the Attorney General’s Office.
Local agencies interested in learning more about the posters and about working with the Attorney General’s Heroin Unit should contact Amy O’Grady, Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, at 614-728-4943 or email@example.com.