Ohio is near the top of a list that no one wants to be on.
The state ranked second in opioid overdoses, behind only West Virginia, according to 2016 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The stark statistic is one firefighters and medics in Madison Township, who answered more than 100 overdose-related runs last year, know too well, Interim Chief Jeff Fasone said.
Fasone was among the panelists who answered questions from about 100 people who turned out for an April 24 forum called Voices of Groveport Madison: A Community Response to the Opioid Epidemic. It was the first in what organizers hope will be a series of educational events about opioids.
The program at Groveport Madison High School was the first event organized by the Groveport Madison Opiate Task Force, a coalition of government, faith and social service agencies.
Task force members represent the city of Groveport and its police department, the Groveport Madison school district and the Madison Township Fire Department.
More than a third of the calls answered by Madison Township in 2017 -- at least 38 -- required the use of Narcan, a nasal spray version of naloxone, a drug that can stop opioid overdoses, Fasone said. Many of those runs required multiple doses of Narcan, he said.
Because Narcan reverses the effects of an overdose, he said it often leaves users feeling well enough to decline medical treatment. It also can make them "dope sick," with strong withdrawal symptoms, Fasone said.
Convincing people to get into rehab is often a challenge, said Josh Ruetsch, Madison Township's EMS coordinator.
"The last few runs we've been on have been young people -- late teens or early 20s," Ruetsch said. "We don't want the individuals to go right back to the path they've been on. As paramedics, we are 100 percent committed to making sure that these people receive the treatment they need."
Overdoses from prescription opioids have decreased in each of the last five years, according to figures from the Ohio Department of Health.
But the emergence of synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and carfentanil, have caused overall numbers to continue to climb. Those drugs can be hundreds of times more powerful than heroin, officials said.
"The number of prescriptions being written is decreasing, and that's something that we should be proud of in this state," Franklin County Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola said. "But we continue to see an increase in the administration of naloxone."
About eight people die each day in Ohio from an opioid-related overdose, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
"You can't love away addiction," Brian Reynolds said.
His adult son, Justin Reynolds, went through a 13-month, faith-based rehab program at Refuge Ministries, headquarterd in Columbus. He is now sober.
"It's hard to tell a parent not to enable their kids, because you want to fix them," Reynolds said. "I want to say we had the blinders on; we kept saying 'Oh, he's just tired. He's just sleepy.' He wasn't."
But just getting his son into treatment was half the battle, according to Reynolds.
"They only accepted new patients one day a week. It was the longest week of my life," Reynolds said. "We watched him get on the bus (to rehab) and it was the best sleep my wife and I had had in a long time because we knew where he was and we knew he was safe."
Maryhaven opened an Addiction Stabilization Center in January at 1430 S. High St., Columbus. Designed to be a bridge between the emergency room and admission to rehab, it allows a safe place for patients to detox.
"It's basically a crisis center for opioid overdose," said Andrew Moss, director of addiction stabilization. There are 55 beds "although we'd like to double that."
About 400 people have been treated at the center so far, he said.
"About 90 percent of the people who have come through have agreed to go on to treatment," Moss said.
"It shows that when treatment is available to people, they do take the option," he said.
The next task force event is a naloxone training slated for 7 p.m. May 24, at the Madison Township Community Center, 4575 Madison Lane.
For more information on the task force visit facebook.com/ voicesofgm.