Overdose numbers keep climbing in Central Ohio

FRANKLIN CO., OH (WCMH) — Experts say opiate usage is an epidemic throughout central Ohio, and the number of overdoses keep climbing despite the help that’s available.

So far between January 17 and March 17, 111 people have fatally overdosed on opiates in Franklin County. It’s a number health officials are watching closely.

Lee Burge was an addict but has been clean for 7 years. He told NBC4’s Rob Sneed that he hopes those suffering will look at him and be encouraged.

“I’m still on a journey,” he said. “Don’t let the tie fool you. Don’t let my position fool you. I am one of you. And I am one of you. I am an example you can get clean you can stay clean.”

Jacqueline Powers is one of those overdose victims. Her body was found near Grove City on Wednesday, and another woman was arrested and charged with dumping her body.

Burge said he has been in a similar position more than 20 years ago, when someone needed help after overdosing and he did not call police.

“I thought back to when I was in my addiction. I had an opportunity to save someone’s life and I remember not calling the police,” he said.

Burge now works with Eden Counseling Centers, but years later he lives with regret for not getting help for that person. He said he hopes those who are in a similar situation will make the right decision and get help.

Something his manager Earl Jennings said as well.

“There’s a fear of getting arrested, and a reality of dying. Which one do you choose?” Jennings asked.

For more information about Eden Counseling Centers, click here. 

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