12/27/17 – 5:30 A.M.
Our look back at 2017 continues today. One story dominated headlines all year, the ongoing opioid epidemic.
While efforts to fight the crisis continued, the number of opioid deaths continued to climb. Hancock Public Health confirmed 18 overdose deaths by the start of December. That’s up from 15 the year before, and the coroner had yet to rule on other cases.
The number of opioid overdoses continued to rise as well. In October Hancock Public Health reported Blanchard Valley Hospital had treated 240 overdose cases through three-quarters of the year.
In the face of growing numbers, community leaders worked to combat the problem. A community meeting in March gathered the public’s input on how to deal with the issue. ADAMHS Board chair John Kissh said that a major point of discussion at the meeting was building a detox center.
The opioid crisis became a big talking point for candidates during the 2017 political campaigns. Both Republican and Democratic candidates for Findlay city council talked about ways to address opioid abuse. The county commissioners also talked about the issue, arguing they needed to expand the county jail to house people arrested for drug crimes.