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Dewine's plan to tackle the heroin epidemic in Ohio

WSYX/WTTE

"It's absolutely everywhere."

That's the message of Attorney General Mike DeWine at the seventh statewide opiate conference held Monday in downtown Columbus. The conference brought together elected leaders, health care professionals, and those affected by heroin addiction to discuss possible solutions to the drug epidemic.

Among those was Tonda DaRe, the Carroll County mother of an overdose victim. DaRe said her daughter Holly was on prom court, loved to sing, and had a lot to look forward to in the future. Her mother said Holly first dabbled with prescription pills, then turned to heroin. Just three months later, Holly came to her mother looking for help with her addiction. DaRe said despite getting help and being clean for a year, her daughter relapsed and died at 20 of an overdose.

DaRe, who started the group Holly's Song of Hope, said those affected by heroin need to get over any stigma.

"When AIDS came through, the stigma that was attached to it kept people from getting the help they needed," she said.

DeWine said law enforcement can't arrest its way out of the problem. He said there needs to be comprehensive education on the issue, starting as young as kindergarten.

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