Headline Health – The needless and tragic deaths of four students at Kent State University in Ohio 1970 reverberated nationwide. Today Ohio is in the national spotlight for the deaths of over four thousand people who died needlessly, part of a much larger national tragedy … details below.
Columbus Dispatch – Fatal overdoses kept rising in Ohio to 4,854, a 20 percent increase over 2016′s toll.
It was the eighth year in a row that drug deaths increased, according to data on unintentional drug deaths reported to the Ohio Department of Health.
County coroners logged 804 more fatal overdoses in 2017 than the 4,050 reported the previous year.
Powerful and deadly fentanyl continued to fuel Ohio’s raging drug epidemic. The synthetic opioid accounted for nearly three-fourths of deaths, killing 3,431 people in 2017, 46 percent more than in the previous year.
Cocaine-related deaths climbed 39 percent in 2017 to 1,540, from 1,109 the previous year.
Still, the state data showed some positive signs. Notably:
- Heroin deaths dropped 46 percent last year to 987. That’s down from 1,444 in 2016 and was the fewest in four years.
- Fewer Ohioans are dying from prescription opioids, which are often a gateway to heroin and fentanyl use. Fatal overdoses from prescription opioids fell to 523 in 2017; that was the fewest in eight years and down from a peak of 724 deaths in 2011.
Those on the front lines say that despite an increase in the number of addicts getting treatment, the death toll is rising because fentanyl is being mixed not only with heroin but also with a variety of other illegal drugs.
According to a recent state report on drug trends, “drug cartels have flooded Ohio” with fentanyl, making it widely available statewide. Demand continues to increase because users say the highly potent drug produces a superior high.
At the same time, many users don’t realize that they’ve taken fentanyl because it’s being cut into heroin and cocaine and even “pressed” into prescription opioids, the report said.
“Drug dealers are flooding communities with different drugs to see what takes. They are very smart businesspeople,” said Lori Criss, CEO of the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers.
She and others liken combating the drug crisis to a game of Whac-A-Mole as targets keep shifting … Read more at Columbus Dispatch.
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