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Heroin addiction problem growing in Columbus

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A plentiful and easy-to-get supply of heroin is creating a growing addiction problem in Columbus that law enforcement and lawmakers agree will take years to get under control.

Columbus Regional Hospital officials have noticed a significant jump in heroin abuse among patients over the past year, said Dr. Kevin Terrell, the emergency room medical director.

"We’ve gone from seeing 111 patients for heroin and pain pill abuse in 2009 to 169 patients in 2013," Terrell said. "With 118 patients seen for heroin and other narcotics in just the first half of 2014, we’re on pace to see a large jump in drug abuse compared to last year."

This summer, Columbus Police have been called to an average four to five heroin-related incidents a week, Columbus Police Chief Jon Rohde said.

The increasing numbers aren't a surprise to police.

In late 2012, Columbus police began recognizing they were witnessing the "calm before the storm," Columbus Police Lt. Matt Myers said.

For more on this story, see Friday's Republic.

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