Local pharmacist stresses public education to combat opiate addiction


LOWELLVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – A pharmacy in Lowellville hosted a discussion Thursday evening about the role pharmacies play in opiate addiction and what can be done about it.

Raymond Carlson of RC Outsourcing led the discussion, saying the goal is to educate the public about the pharmacies’ role.

“Our concern as pharmacists is that 75 percent of the heroin overdoses begin as prescription pain issues,” he said.

Carlson says people who get prescription pills don’t always realize how dangerous and addictive they can be.

People who attended the meeting also learned that pharmacists have to do more than just sort pills.

“We have a duty to inform, to a certain extent, the hazards of these medications,” Carlson said.

Mahoning County Coroner Doctor Joseph Ohr says that, generally, he is seeing two overdose deaths a day.

Mahoning County Probate Judge Jack Durkin was invited by Chief Justice Marueen O’Conor to an eight state delegation on opioid addiction in August. Durkin says since he began on the bench, the average drug addict has changed.

“When we first started about 19 years ago, the drug of choice was crack or cocaine, the average age was 35. Fast forward 18 years, the drug of choice is opiates, it’s heroin and the average age was dropped to 23.”

He says children need to be educated against the dangers of drug addiction in the same way they are educated against the dangers of smoking.

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