WORTHINGTON, Ohio (WTVN) -- Ohio's heroin problem has grabbed a lot of attention lately. Part of that could be the number of people overdosing and dying because of the drug.
"This drug problem in our culture is a poison that threatens the essence of who we are," said Gov. John Kasich speaking to a group of educators and policy makers from around Ohio Tuesday.
Kasich said that the state is making progress and a sign of that progress is shrinking drug seizures by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
"The artery through Ohio is beginning to move," he said.
However, more needs to be done. There are long waiting lists at some drug treatment facilities and drug dealers are being arrested only to be turned right back out onto the streets to do it again.
"There is no doubt that we have to spend more money on treatment in this state," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
DeWine thinks that treatment and law enforcement are vital battles in the fight against heroin, but education is one of the top priorities. That's one reason the state leaders spoke to a group of educators and policy makers gathered at the Alliance for High Quality Education Heroin Summit at Worthington Kilbourne High School Tuesday.
Part of the push for education is a new state program known as "Start Talking" which seeks to spur discussion of the issue among educators, parents, students, and community members.
Heroin has taken over as the state has cracked down on prescription drug abuse. DeWine thinks one factor is cost.
"They're selling it literally as cheap as you can buy a pizza and literally they will deliver it to your house," he said.
Many suburban areas believe the issue isn't impacting them, but DeWine says they're wrong. In fact, the 36 school districts represented at the summit came mostly from suburban areas of the state.
While overdose deaths from prescription drugs has started to drop, heroin overdose deaths have spiked 60 percent, according to the most recent numbers from the Ohio Dept. of Health. Overdose deaths passed auto accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio in 2007.
Video from the Ohio Attorney General's Office