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Opioid Overdoses Surge Across Ohio

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Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths In Franklin County, Ohio

Franklin County, which contains the capital city of Columbus, reported a significant increase in overdose deaths during the first three months of 2020:

  • A total of 191 people died of drug overdose during January through March 2020, as compared to only 123 deaths during the same period of 2019.
  • Franklin County overdoses due to fentanyl were up 55 percent from last year during the first months of 2020. Deaths related to alcohol and methamphetamine climbed as well.
  • The majority of those who died in Franklin County were never married or divorced white males.


Drug Overdose Deaths In Cuyahoga County, Ohio

In Cuyahoga County, there were a total of 52 overdose deaths in May alone. This is the second-highest monthly overdose death total ever recorded in this region. When overdoses related to cocaine are added to the total, it becomes the highest number of deaths ever recorded in one month (68). In this area, there were three times as many white people who died of drug overdose as African Americans. However, when compared to past demographics, this data indicates a substantial increase in the number of African Americans dying of a drug-related overdose.

Suspected Overdoses And 911 Calls In Hamilton County, Ohio

In Hamilton County, there were spikes in suspected overdoses and 911 calls related to drug overdose in both May and June of 2020:

  • Overdose 911 calls rose from 213 in April to 261 in May. There were a total of 42 suspected overdose deaths in May.
  • Another 43 overdose deaths were recorded in Hamilton County during the month of June 2020, which represents a 60 percent increase from the same month in 2019.

Understanding The Ohio Overdose Surge

The recent surge in opioid overdoses across Ohio can be attributed to several different factors. First, it’s important to note that the surge in opioid overdoses began before the COVID-19 pandemic settled into the region, indicating that drug misuse was already a problem in Ohio prior to these events. However, when the pandemic began, it’s likely that the related stress and mandatory social isolation exacerbated the problem. As social restrictions begin to lift, Ohio is experiencing an even higher number of overdoses. One of the possible explanations for the increases in overdoses is related to the availability of opioids, especially fentanyl. During the height of the pandemic, many of these drugs were more difficult to obtain, leading residents to reduce their intake. Once fentanyl and other opioids became more widely available and affordable on the streets, it’s likely people took higher doses that their bodies were no longer prepared to process.

Treating Opioid Use Disorder

The current opioid overdose trends in Ohio are a clear indication of the severity of addiction in this state. When addiction is left untreated, the risk of serious complications continues to rise. To combat a substance use disorder, professional treatment is essential. If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid use disorder, finding a suitable opioid treatment program is the best way to overcome the issue and begin living a healthier life. The Bluffs customizes treatment based on patient needs, and we offer virtual care for patients who cannot attend on-site programs.

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