Woman Creates Petition For A State Of Emergency In Ohio To Combat Heroin Overdose Crisis

An Ohio mother requested a state of emergency earlier this month in a desperate effort to put an end to the rash of heroin overdose-related deaths throughout the state.

Camelia Carter lost her 25-year-old son, RJ, to a heroin overdose on May 29. Her loss inspired her to start her petition, as well as a website devoted to her cause.

In May, WCPO published an article expressing concern about the increase in heroin overdose victims in Ohio, which has surpassed more than 7,000 in the last six years. They urged Governor Kasich to issue a state of emergency at that time. Carter’s petition makes the same request, begging the governor and the community to assist in preventing future heroin overdose.

“We the people request that Governor Kasich declare an immediate state of emergency for Ohio now! Thousands are overdosing and people are dying.”

On her website, No More Heroin, Carter explains her son’s battle with heroin addiction. She mentions feeling helpless as she stood by him, watching until an overdose took his life.

“RJ experienced trauma after trauma as a direct result of his father’s drug and alcohol abuse, my own struggles as a trauma survivor/single mother with numerous health challenges and his own personal traumas as a direct result of his ever-growing drug and alcohol addiction… Most times, the only thing I could do was watch as my precious son change from a sweet, caring, amazing young man into every mother’s worst nightmare.
But I never stopped fighting for him!”

While Governor Kasich has the authority to grant an emergency request and access to essential labor and funding, as he has multiple times in the past for lesser situations throughout Ohio, he denied Carter’s original petition. Kasich claims that the situation has not reached emergency status.

Cleveland 19 News spoke with the Ohio governor’s office about the overdose state of emergency petition.

“The governor’s heart breaks for parents who’ve lost a son or daughter to drugs. We applaud Camelia’s strength to stand up in our fight against drugs and her determination that no other parent should ever know the pain she’s experiencing. The governor is treating this drug epidemic with a sense of emergency and not a day goes by where he does not talk about what it will take to make progress against this ever-evolving war on drugs. Despite the recent increase in opiate deaths (driven this year by fentanyl), we believe that Ohio has the most comprehensive approach in the nation for taking on this epidemic.”

Carter spoke out about the heroin overdose tragedies, both as a grieving mother and as an advocate for her petition.

“This is bigger than 9/11. This is bigger than a hurricane. This is the biggest hurricane that ever hit the planet, if you look at it. Never has a hurricane wiped out so many people. It’s time to stop it.”

Carter created her website to bring attention to the heroin overdose crisis all throughout Ohio, and all over the country. Her goals for the site include fundraisers for drug awareness events and advocating drug use prevention. She reaches out to people affected by addiction and overdose loss in hopes of giving them a sense of comfort and support. She also hopes her petition is successful, so that she can gain access to the finances necessary to achieve her goals and take strides toward heroin addiction and overdose in Ohio and beyond.

“It’s spreading and it’s not going to stop, and I’m not going to shut up, I’m not going to go away,” she said.

Carter’s goal for the month of August is to reach 50,000 signatures on her petition for an Ohio state of emergency. Once the petition meets that mark, it will go to President Obama and Senator Portman, as well as the governor of Ohio.

Carter pleads to the public for assistance in getting 50,000 signatures for her state of emergency petition by the end of the month. The petition will reach Governor John Kasich, Senator Rob Portman, and President Barack Obama.

[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]