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Cincinnati Task Force Says State Resources Are Needed To Fight Opioid Abuse

Newtown police chief Tom Synan is head of a Cincinnati-area drug task force.
Newtown Police Department

The head of a Cincinnati-area drug task force is calling on the state to declare a public health emergency to free up more resources for fighting heroin.

After a recent spike of overdoses, Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan, who heads the task force, is calling the situation a public health crisis.

"When you have anywhere from 100 to 200 people overdosing in a week there's no other way to describe this but a crises," Synan said.

He's calling on citizens to get involved to get action. "The citizens saying enough is enough, it's draining the resources of our first responders."

He says heroin is hurting and killing people. "We want the governor to declare this a public health emergency," Synan says.

Synan says he wants more money for resources to fight heroin after the sudden overdose spike. He spoke at a news conference Tuesday led by Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco who confirmed the powerful elephant tranquilizer carfentanil was found in the bodies of eight recent overdose deaths, and more cases are suspected. Authorities say nearly 300 overdoses have been reported in the Cincinnati area since Aug. 19.

Mark Heyne contributed to this report.

In 2005, Maryanne Zeleznik came to 91.7 WVXU from WNKU where she served as News and Public Affairs Director for 20 years. At WVXU she is responsible for all news and public affairs programming, hosts Morning Edition Monday through Friday, fills in to host Cincinnati Edition when Michael Monks is off. As time allows she covers daily news, produces local features, and contributes news stories to National Public Radio.