Heroin Overdoses Kill Record Number of Ohioans

Record Number of Ohio Residents Die from Heroin Overdoses

heroin overdoseThe Ohio State Department of Health released information about drug addiction and overdose in the state in 2012, and noted that a record number of Ohioans had been killed due to heroin overdoses.

Ohio has declared heroin overdose an epidemic and public health crisis.

In 2012, 680 people died from heroin overdoses in the state, a number up 37% from the previous year, in which 426 people died from a heroin overdose. The increase in heroin overdose deaths also drove the overall number of fatal drug overdoses to a record of 1,272 deaths in 2012, up from 1,154 the previous year.

Fatal drug overdoses remain the leading cause of death in Ohio, above even car crashes. The trend began in 2007.

In contrast, the number of prescription painkiller deaths dropped in the state for the first time since 2003, which the Department of Health attributed to a state-wide crackdown on pill mills and overprescribing practices.

The decrease is worrying, however, because the crackdown on prescription drugs could have led to addicts turning to a cheaper and more available source of opioid high – heroin.

“What we’re seeing is a significant number of people moving to a more acute phase of their addiction disorder,” said Orman Hall, director of the governor’s cabinet opiate action team.

Christy Beeghley, program administrator for the Health Department’s Injury Prevention Program, agrees that rampant prescription painkiller addiction led to an addicted population, and the crackdown on prescription drugs forced the addicts to turn to heroin.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner released preliminary statistics from 2013, stating that there were 195 heroin fatalities last year, which is up from 161 the year before.

In response to the heroin overdose statistics, Attorney General Mike DeWine declared the problem an “epidemic” and has created a statewide investigative unit to crack down on heroin dealers.

Ann Barnum, senior program officer with Interact for Health in Cincinnati, said the numbers are sobering but unsurprising.

“I want people to talk to their neighbors about it, and with compassion, understanding that this is a disease,” she said. “Addiction is a disease. People lose their ability to choose once they’re addicted.

“With these drugs out there now – the legal prescriptions and the illegal heroin – letting them hit bottom is letting them die. Hitting bottom with these drugs is an overdose.”

In February, federal regulators said that prescription painkiller addiction was a larger problem in the US than heroin addiction, but that one opioid addiction could lead to the other.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we’ve seen roughly a 20 percent increase in overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers since 2006,” the White House Office of National Drug control policy wrote in a blog post. “In 2010, there were over 16,000 drug poisoning deaths involving prescription painkillers. There were about 3,000 drug poisoning death involving heroin that same year.”

Currently, just 4% of people addicted to prescription drugs move to heroin; however, according to the White House Office of National Drug Policy, the trend is increasing among young adults. Additionally, 80% of people who recently started using heroin, according to a U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report issued last April, abused prescription drugs before turning to street drugs.

The Strom Law Firm Protects Against Drug Charges

Being arrested for prescription drug abuse, marijuana possession, heroin possession, or other drug charges, is something that can be devastating financially and emotionally, and can have long-lasting personal and professional consequences. We understand what you are going through, and we are here to help. Contact the prescription fraud attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800

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