DeWine: 'It's the worst epidemic that I've ever seen'

DeWine: 'It's the worst epidemic that I've ever seen'

OHIO (WOIO) - Disturbing numbers show 23 people die each week in Ohio from heroin overdose.

Ohio Attorney General and former county prosecutor, Mike DeWine appeared on CBS This Morning to talk about the growing problem of heroin.

DeWine said heroin use is not just a problem in Ohio's cities but also its small towns and wealthy suburbs.

"It's the worst epidemic that I've ever seen. I've been involved in law enforcement since the 1970s and it's so pervasive it's in every part of Ohio. We used to think of drug epidemics centering on cities, not true at all. The drug dealers are going where the money is and that's the suburbs and also in the rural areas," said DeWine.

Heroin has been around for a while, but never like this before. It used to be an expensive, scary drug.

"Heroin used to be a drug most people doing drugs wouldn't touch," said DeWine.

That's not the case anymore. With increasing availability, heroin has become a cheaper alternative for prescription opioid users.

Ohio doctors prescribed 750,000,000 pain pills in 2014.

According to DeWine, the state has taken the licenses of over 50 doctors in Ohio for improperly prescribing or dispensing prescription drugs.

DeWine also said it's not a drug you can "arrest" away.

"The drug cartels are doing a great job of marketing this, but I think most people in law enforcement today understand and tell me, and I totally agree with it, we can't arrest our way out of the problem," said DeWine.

The attorney general said the focus has to be more on prevention and treatment. He has also created a special Heroin Unit in 2013 to tackle the problem.

Copyright 2015 WOIO. All rights reserved.