The number of drug-related deaths in Butler County is down drastically so far this year.
According to the Butler County Coroner’s Office, there have been three fatal drug overdoses in 2018. During the same time period last year, from Jan. 1-March 12, there were 21 drug-related deaths.
Coroner Bill Young isn’t sure exactly what is causing the decrease but attributes it to a number of things- including an increased crackdown by the Butler County District Attorney’s Office, the work of local police departments and the involvement of the county and other community partners who stepped up in the last year to host forums on opioids and addiction.
“This is great news,” Young said in an interview with Butler Radio on Tuesday.
In 2017, there were more fatal drug overdoses than ever before in Butler County’s history- 92.
Butler County District Attorney Rich Goldinger spoke to Butler Radio last week about his recently-enacted drug initiative called “Not In My Backyard.”
The campaign was started in early summer of last year. Goldinger vowed to ask for maximum bail amounts and maximum punishments for drug dealers prosecuted by his office.
“We saw what we were doing was not effective in preventing drug dealers from coming into the community,” Goldinger said in an interview on March 6. He explains his office sat down and decided to clamp down on the dealers and make sure they come out with felonies. But, he says, it also starts even before a conviction.
“We have to get them (the dealers) off the street,” he said. “When police file charges, we need higher bonds being set so that we have them in jail, not selling, while their charges are pending.”
He believes this new initiative is working.
“This wasn’t something we knew that we would see a change in overnight but I think we are seeing an effect at this point,” he said.
Goldinger is in his 11th year as the district attorney for Butler County.