The number of heroin deaths in Ohio is rising as heroin becomes more common, but how is it effecting Kent and Kent State students? Reporter Julie Selby has the story.
It’s a state-wide problem that has reached epidemic proportions. It’s a cold-hearted killer to which many have succumbed to. And it’s right here in Kent — Heroin.
According to Kent’s police records, between Jan. 1 and Sept. 18, 2013, 10 people were charged with possession of heroin. However, the record also stated between Jan. 1 and Sept. 18, 2014, 18 people were charged with possession of heroin.
Heroin is a processed form of morphine than can be snorted, smoked or injected into the body. It is one of the most addictive drugs and its popularity is on the rise because it’s cheap.
Heroin is so common now, even children are finding needles, Lieutenant Jim Prusha of the Kent Police Department said.
“People in apartment complexes [are] saying that their children out playing are finding needles laying around,” Prusha said. “They’re really, obviously, concerned about that. They don’t want their kids to catch anything from these needles.”
The Kent Police Department is also finding more cooking spoons and bags of heroin than ever before.
In May of this year, the Kent Police Department seized nine pounds of heroin, the largest bust they’ve ever made.
The most commonly used drugs at Kent State are alcohol and marijuana, but that doesn’t mean harder and more dangerous drugs don’t exist on campus.
Last year, reports of heroin fatalities in Portage County increased. Fortunately, no fatalities occurred on the Kent State campus, Community Resource Officer Michquel Penn of the Kent State Police Department said.
Students at Kent State are very susceptible to heroin due to a new sense of freedom, Prusha said.
“I mean the first-year students are just now away from mom and dad and they’re kind of making decisions on their own,” he said. “Some of them hopefully will learn from a few mistakes before they start to make better decisions, so I think they’re highly susceptible to that because some people are kind of looking for highs.”
For students looking for help, there are many places to go in Kent, Penn says.
“Over in Deweese [Health Center], in the Office of Health Promotion, they have programs within their office and in the building that would help a student,” she said. “Unfortunately if they’ve gone through the court system, we have a referral program that will put them back in touch here. There’s Townhall II, they also have PSAP (Portage Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition).”
With heroin’s popularity skyrocketing in Kent, the clock is ticking before tragedy strikes on campus.