Rural Ohio county shows the impact of opioid influx

JACKSON, Ohio (AP) — Newly released prescription opioid statistics underscore how widespread pill use has been in towns and small cities of America’s Appalachian (ap-ah-LA’-chihn) region.

In Jackson County, Ohio, for example, an average yearly total of 107 opioid pills for every resident were distributed over a seven-year period. Such numbers shock even those trying to help the communities cope with increased crime, overcrowded jails, overwhelmed social services agencies and at-capacity treatment centers.

The drug data made public by a federal court in Cleveland that is overseeing lawsuits against drug companies shows that the number of painkiller pills distributed soared as the nation’s overdose epidemic grew over a seven-year period through 2012.

The sheriff in hard-hit Perry County, Kentucky, says he sees the consequences every day.

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