Police said seven heroin users have been charged with inducing panic after overdosing Getty

Heroin addicts in Ohio could now face jail if they are revived following an overdose under new plans to battle the state's drug "epidemic".

Washington Court House police have starting charging people who have been revived by overdose antidote Naloxone with inducing panic, a misdemeanour criminal charge which is punishable with 180 days in jail.

The police force insists the proposals are not intended as a way to jail heroin addicts, but instead a way to help keep track of people who may need help.

Chief Brian Hottinger said seven people have been charged with inducing panic ever since the plans were introduced in February.

City Attorney Mark Pitsick told WSYX-TV: "It gives us the ability to keep an eye on them, to offer them assistance and to know who has overdosed. Sometimes we can't even track who has overdosed. We are trying everything we can do. It's an epidemic."

Pitsick said he hopes that those who face the misdemeanour charges will help them understand that the police are "here to help".

He added: "They don't have hope to begin with, but by helping them we hope we are giving them the ability to turn their lives around."

Pitsick assured that people who dial 911 for a person who has overdosed will not face any charges.