Warren County drug trends continue to shift from heroin and fentanyl to crystal methamphetamine. Our investigations continue to identify Mexico as a primary source of supply for the methamphetamine seized in our area. Drugs arriving from the southwest border typically flow through the Cincinnati and Dayton areas and remain readily available for use by our addicted population. Drug Task Force seizure numbers, as reported by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, indicate a 142% increase in methamphetamine seized by our Task Force from 2017 to 2018. This same data indicates an 88% decrease in the seizure of heroin and fentanyl by our unit.
Aggressive enforcement as well as increased treatment and prevention efforts continue to positively impact the heroin and fentanyl crisis in our area of operation. While the opiate problem remains a significant concern, we are thankful to see these numbers decrease. These efforts have also contributed to a decrease in drug related overdose deaths in Warren County in 2018.
The investigation of prescription drug diversion crimes remain a priority for the Drug Task Force. During 2018, Warren County ranked 2nd in the State of Ohio for highest number of prescription drug seizures at over 11,000 unit doses. Many of those were prescription opiates which remain the common drug of abuse for many, especially those employed within the medical profession with increased accessibility to prescription drugs. This specialized area of investigation directly impacts the continued addiction crisis involving prescription opiates.
As specific drug threats change, our commitment to target drug trafficking activities is unwavering. The investigation of drug trafficking offenses remains challenging as drug traffickers continue to evolve and learn many of the covert tactics commonly utilized by law enforcement. The ongoing specialized enforcement efforts of the Warren County Drug Task Force are critical as drug traffickers prey upon our addicted population and directly impact the quality of life in our communities.