Last updated: April 30. 2014 3:05PM - 507 Views
By Elizabeth Murphy

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According to the most recent Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Drug Overdose report, unintentional drug overdoses caused 1,914 deaths in the state in 2012. Preble County accounts for 11 of those deaths. In the past six years 2007 -2012, Preble County lost fifty residents, a stark increase of 257 percent over the six years prior, 2001 - 2006. Of the seventeen counties reporting the highest death rates, all but three lie in the south to southwest corner of the state.

The ODH and the Center for Disease Control report middle aged adults, 35 – 54, are the ones most affected by accidental drug overdose. And people in rural counties are twice as likely to overdose as those living in big cities. The high risk groups for opioid overdose and death include: white males, 25 -54; females 45-54; Medicaid populations; rural populations; mentally ill and depressed residents; and those suffering from illness.

Statewide, heroin involved deaths increased 50% over the five year period, while prescription opiate deaths declined for the first time since 2003. ODH researchers reported a 12% reduction in prescription drug overdoses year over year. However, prescription opioids continue to be the lead contributor to the overdose problem with more than one-third of the deaths attributed to it. Additionally, multiple drug use, using several drugs simultaneously, caused more than half of the deaths. In 2012, five Ohioans died every day from unintentional drug overdose, or one every five hours.

While the news is positive on opioid (prescription) declines, it is clear to state officials that heroin use is on the rise. “We need to remember that as Ohio continues to work with its partners to combat illegal drugs like heroin, it’s clear that the problems we once saw in prescription drugs are, in part, migrating to illegal drugs”, said Lance Himes, Interim Director of the ODH.

To see all the data and results, go to www.odh.ohio.gov. You may also visit our website for additional information at www.pcmhrb.org/opioids. The Preble County Mental Health & Recovery Board reminds you to please dispose of all unused or expired prescription or over-the-counter medications any time at the Drug Take Back drop boxes located at the Preble County Sheriff’s Office, 1139 Preble Drive; city of Eaton police department, 328 North Maple Street; and village of West Alexandria police department, 72 North Main, West Alexandria.

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