MOUNT VERNON — It’s a problem among all age groups and in all 88 counties in Ohio: Prescription drug abuse, especially prescription painkillers like oxicodone, more commonly referred to under the brand name Oxycontin.
Tuesday evening, the Democratic Women of Knox County hosted a forum to discuss the problem of prescription drug abuse and develop some suggestions for combating the problem. The points raised at the forum will be forwarded to the Community Mental Health and Recovery Board of Licking and Knox Counties at a November meeting to develop approaches to the problem.
The painkillers in question are classified as opiates, along with heroin. The number of deaths from these drugs has been slowly growing in the county, according to figures provided by Dr. Jennifer Ogle, the county coroner. Ogle noted that in 2008 there were five fatal overdoses in the county from opiates. That grew to eight in 2009, 10 in 2010 and seven so far in 2011.
Statewide, she said there are three to four deaths daily from prescription overdoses.
Dave Culbertson summarized the presentation he delivers to middle and high school students about drug use. The presentation centers on the death of his son, Carl, and how he slid into the situation where an opiate overdose took his life. Dave has since founded Arms of an Angel Foundation to combat drug use among young people.