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Addiction Response Coalition increases education as it braces for fentanyl variants to enter Ohio

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Hamilton County Addiction Response Coalition
The African American engagement workgroup is helping get the message out that fentanyl is dangerous and lives can be saved through education and recovery efforts.

Hundreds of people in Hamilton County continue to die from overdoses. It was 432 in 2020.

Para-flourofentanyl is just one of dozens of synthetic drug variants expected to find their way into cocaine, meth and fake prescription pills in the Tri-State. This potent form of fentanyl has been in Ohio since last year and is one of 20 variants in the state.

This constant stream of synthetic drugs is frustrating for the Hamilton County Addiction Response Coalition, which has broadened its efforts to educate those it might have neglected in the past, like younger people, those who use drugs socially and the African American community.

“We’re trying to be more inclusive so that we can get more people wrapped up in those services, educated and get more people toward recovery,” says Response Coalition Co-Chair Tom Synan.

This includes increasing education efforts about the life-saving drug Narcan, and the frequency of which fentanyl is being seen in street drugs.

Hundreds of people continue to die from overdoses. In 2020 it was 432.

“There are actually 40 different fentanyl analogs identified in the U.S.," Synan says. "My last check, over 20 in Ohio alone and the potential to have 1,000 analogs.”

While China used to be the main source of synthetic drugs, it is now providing the ingredients to Mexican cartels, so Synan expects the pipeline to continue.

Ann Thompson has years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology