Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Very few places in America have been harder hit by the opioid crisis than the state of Ohio. According to CDC data, the Buckeye State ranked second, only behind neighboring West Virginia, in overdose death rates per 100,000 residents in 2016. Over the last few years these mortality rates have continued to climb, despite new restrictions on prescription painkillers and better treatment for those struggling with addiction. As we seek to address this national health emergency it’s important to understand what is driving these overdose deaths and what can we do to stop it.
Opioid addiction in Ohio has brought public services to the brink and had a significant economic toll on the state. Police and fire departments are dealing with a spike in overdose-related calls, hospitals are receiving more patients than they can handle and even the state’s foster care system is feeling the strain as more and more children are separated from drug addicted parents who can no longer care for them. A new study from the Ohio State University meanwhile, finds that opioid epidemic costs the state $6.6 to $8.8 billion annually, roughly the same amount as the state’s education budget.