Opioid Epidemic in Ohio
Between the 1990s and today, the opioid epidemic has exploded in the United States. Each day, 128 people in the United States die of an opioid overdose. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control in the US estimated that the economic burden of the opioid crisis is about $78.5 billion a year. That figure includes criminal justice (police) involvement, addiction treatment, lost productivity, and healthcare costs.
Clearly, the opioid epidemic is incredibly serious. We want to help you better understand what opioids are and why they are so dangerous. Opioids are a type of drug that includes pain relievers available through prescription, the illegal drug heroin, and synthetic substance like fentanyl. Each of these types of opioids is dangerous. However, the increased prescribing and use of opioids such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others have led to the opioid crisis.
Unfortunately, Ohio is a significant part of the larger-scale crisis throughout the country. Medical providers wrote 53.5 opioid prescriptions for every 100 patients in 2018. That same year, 3,237 Ohioans died of an overdose death involving opioids. That is a rate of 29.6 deaths. Nearly 1,000 more people died in 2017. As a matter of fact, Ohio had the second-highest drug overdose mortality rate in 2017. In Ohio, 4,293 people died in 2017, which was a rate of 39.2. In 2018, Ohio’s rate of overdose-related death fell to fifth in the country. While this is an improvement, death rates were still incredibly high.
Further, deaths that involved involving synthetic opioids fell dramatically between 2017 and 2018. Synthetic opioid-related deaths dropped by 20% from 3,523 in 2017 to 2,783 in 2018. In other words, the rate went from 32.4 to a rate of 25.7. Along with prescription opioid problems, heroin also causes opioid-related deaths. However, like opioid-related deaths, fewer people are dying from heroin-related deaths. In 2017, 1,000 Ohioans died from heroin overdoses. In 2018, 721 Ohioans died from heroin overdoses.
The Opioid Crisis Through the Years
The opioid epidemic is not a new issue. Many factors contributed to the rise of opioid consumption in the United States. However, pharmaceutical companies led to the accessibility of opioids. During the late 1990s, healthcare providers began prescribing opioids more frequently. This happened because pharmaceutical companies convinced the medical community that prescription opioids were not addictive. Consequently, more patients received opioids as pain relievers through prescription medications. Therefore, people soon became addicted to opioids. Subsequently, research proved that the medications are, in fact, highly addictive.
As a result, more than 47,000 people living in the United States died of an opioid overdose in 2017. Also in 2017, approximately 1.7 million people in the US suffered from opioid addictions. Additionally, about 652,000 people in the US suffered from an addiction to heroin. Throughout the United States, people felt the individual and structural disruption caused by the opioid crisis. Opioid swept through schools and workplaces alike. People who hadn’t been interested in drug use previously suddenly found themselves in the grips of addiction.
Falling Rates of Opioid-Related Overdose
Thankfully, however, research suggests that opioid addictions are
In Tennessee, the opioid addiction rate has gone down as well. For example, 739 Tennesseans died of prescription opioid overdose in 2016. In 2018, however, 550 people died of prescription opioid overdose in 2018. Therefore, the rate went from 11.1 to a rate of 8.2. The opioid crisis in Tennessee and throughout the US has taken many lives. However, research shows that opioid prescriptions are taking fewer lives than they were before. If you believe you or someone you love is suffering from opioid addiction, we can help. Please contact us at 901-403-7925.
National and State Response the Opioid Epidemic
Over the years, the federal and local governments have worked hard to provide solutions to this widespread problem. Several educational programs, treatment improvements, and limitations on opioid prescriptions have provided important steps to overcoming the opioid epidemic. Ohio is no exception. Through their programs, their opioid-related overdose deaths have decreased between 2017 and 2018
National Response to the Opioid Crisis
Fortunately, the federal government has responded to the opioid crisis on a national level. The US Department of Health and Human Services created a list of five priorities to focus on. First, HHS strives to improve access to recovery services and addiction treatment. Second, HHS promotes using overdose-reversing drugs. For example, naloxone is one effective drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdoses. Third, the HHS wants to help people understand the opioid crisis better by providing public health surveillance. Fourth, HHS provides research on addiction. Fifth and finally, the HHS works to advance better practices for pain management.
Further, at the 2018 National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, the director of the National Institute of Health (NIS) announced the beginning of a new initiative. The initiative HEAL stands for Helping to End Addiction Long-Term. Further, the goal of HEAL is to provide scientific solutions to better understand and stop the opioid epidemic. In April 2018 at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the launch of the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis.
Also, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided new guidelines for prescribing opioids. To begin, they recommend that clinicians don’t prescribe benzodiazepines with opioids. Additionally, opioids and benzodiazepines now have FDA warnings on the prescription label. Although these safeguards won’t stop people from becoming addicted to opioids, the safeguards can help people prevent situations where addictions can form.
Limitations on Opioid Prescriptions
Additionally, Ohio has increased the limitations of prescribing opioid medications. These measures prevent oversubscribing. For example, along with eliminating pill mills, the Ohio government has also improved the Board of Pharmacy’s Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System. As a result, the doses provided by Ohioans decreased by almost 42 million. Further, along with providing naloxone at treatment centers, Ohio has also increased the availability of the medication to those not receiving treatment. The Ohio government has dedicated $1 million per year to make naloxone more accessible to Ohioans, in and out of treatment centers. Clearly, the Ohio government takes the opioid epidemic very seriously.
Ohio’s Response to the Opioid Crisis
Not only has the US responded to the opioid on a national level, but there have also been important steps taken by states such as Ohio. Currently, Ohio has 882 addiction treatment centers. Of those, 464 centers offer the following services:
- SAMHSA-certified Opioid Treatment Program
- Buprenorphine prescription
- Naltrexone prescription
Having SAMHSA-certified treatment means that there are programs approved by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association specifically designed for opioid addictions. Receiving treatment at one of these centers guarantees that you will enroll in a high-quality program that will provide excellent care. Additionally, buprenorphine is a medication that can help people overcome addictions to opioids. Further, naltrexone can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Both of these medications can provide vital help to those who are dependent on opioids.
Along with treatment options, there are also Ohio government initiatives that help decrease the prescription rate of opioids in the first place. For example, Governor Mike DeWine started an initiative called RecoveryOhio. This initiative addresses mental health and addiction disorders in the state. One of the main focuses of the initiative is the opioid epidemic. However, Ohio’s goals are more than just lip service. Since the initiative began, Ohio has invested about $1 billion each year. Here are a few of the accomplishments Ohio has had so far:
- Created a drug prevention effort targeting the youth
- Increased recovery housing and treatment efforts throughout Ohio
- Shut down several pill mills
- Taken more than 250 actions against medical licenses due to prescribing problems
- Increased drug-related arrests by more than 100%
- Promoted responsible prescribing practices by using online tools, such as videos and articles
All of these efforts have contributed to solving the problems associated with the opioid epidemic.
You Can Find Treatment
In conclusion, treatment is available for you. You can find the help you need in Ohio if you or someone you love suffers from addiction. As mentioned previously, 464 addiction treatment centers offer services specifically for those who have opioid addictions. For example, these treatment centers offer SAMHSA-certified Opioid Treatment Programs. These programs are specifically designed to help people overcome their addictions to opioids. Further, Ohio treatment centers also offer buprenorphine prescriptions and naltrexone prescriptions. These medications help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms of opioids. They can also help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Although we’ve painted the opioid epidemic in the broad strokes through statistics and general policy information, we know that this issue affects each person it touches intimately. Every person who loses a family member to an opioid addiction knows the real impact of this crisis. That’s why we want to help people just as the crisis affects them—personally. If you or a loved one suffers from opioid addiction, we can help. We are here to answer your questions, direct you to treatment centers that are right for you, or help you learn more about the opioid crisis. Please call us today at 614-502-6247.