CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio (WTVN) -- A drug round-up in Circleville has netted 39 people, with 22 facing heroin-related charges. It's a sign of how heroin has become Ohio's drug of choice.
"A couple years ago we were here working on pills and arrested 25 or 26 on that. Since then the drug has changed to heroin," said Circleville Police Chief Wayne Gray.
The joint-investigations by police, Pickaway County Sheriff's office, and the Ohio Attorney General's office focused primarily on mid-level heroin traffickers in Circleville and Pickaway County. Most of the drugs were found to be trafficked in from the Columbus area.
Pickaway County Prosecutor Judy Wolford says of the 400 felony cases they'll prosecute this year, about 95 percent have some connection to drugs.
The heroin issue isn't limited to Circleville.
"If you think you live in affluent suburb of Columbus or an affluent suburb of Cincinnati or Dayton, you're wrong. You've got your head in the sand," said Attorney General Mike DeWine.
In 2011, prescription pills made up 57 percent of the opioids submitted to the state crime lab. Now, 61 percent is heroin.
A survey conducted in November by the Attorney General's office of cause-of-death data in Ohio revealed a 107-percent increase in heroin deaths among more than half of Ohio's counties. DeWine says we've already passed last year's 606 deaths and could hit 1,000 by the end of the year. He says every community needs to develop a plan for dealing with the issue.