Panel could save lives

Published 10:12 am Thursday, February 23, 2017

Recently, Ohio Gov. John Kasich proposed development of a local-level panel that would investigate and evaluate drug overdose deaths and make these discoveries public record on a limited basis.

With the epidemic the state has seen, leading the nation in overdose fatalities in 2015 at over 3,000, any movement that works toward potentially finding solutions or lessening the stranglehold drugs have on our communities is a step in the right direction.

The goal of these committees at the county level would be to look at the information available on the overdoses in their respective county, develop a database and evaluate trends that could be factors that lead to these drug fatalities. Subsequently, these reports would be filed yearly into a statewide database.

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Drug related deaths linked to opioids among many others have reached alarming levels in the last several years, and we must do whatever is required to help those who are battling these addictions along with their families and friends.

While we understand the sensitivity of the information, it is equally as important to maintain the public records access to this information. Many pieces of the information relating to these deaths are public records that can be requested already.

Ultimately, realizing this is a significant problem in our county and state is the first step. Any measures we can take as a collective community to potentially save a life will be well worth any investment necessary.