MANSFIELD — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine hosted a Drug Abuse Forum Friday afternoon at the Ontario Branch of the Richland County Public Library. It could easily have been called a forum on heroin, however, since prescription opiates and heroin were foremost among concerns expressed by DeWine and a diverse panel.
“We cannot arrest our way out of the heroin problem,” DeWine said. “The Mexican drug cartels are great marketers, but it’s not just a supply problem. If there weren’t a lot of users looking for heroin, supplies would dry up.”
DeWine’s office has a focused Heroin Unit, and he stressed that its purpose is to assist local law enforcement rather than dictate to it. The unit collects data and enforcement details from county and municipal jurisdictions to share statewide.
“We want to know what works for you and what doesn’t,” he said. “This forum will be a waste of time if we don’t act along with victims’ families. They bring passion to our efforts.”
The forum lasted two hours and produced an array of information from the point of view of law enforcement, legislators, judges, prosecutors, educators, health experts and relatives of addicts. Each panel member spoke briefly, followed by questions and discussion.
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