Ohio – Overdose Deaths Down 22 % from 2017

Cuyahoga County OH –

Even a single death from an overdose is one too many for the families torn apart by these drugs. There is some good news though, as last year one hundred and sixty seven fewer families had to go through this terrible ordeal than did in 2017. That is progress.

As with all major public health crises, there has been a concerted effort across many agencies to bring this problem to heel. Local, state and federal government officials have listened to the call for action and have responded with a multi-faceted approach that seems to be generating results. In years past, many of the victims of this crisis had only been prosecuted by the courts instead of treated for their debilitating addiction. That is slowly changing, with many positive results.

Project DAWN, begun by the state government in 2015, is one such program. Instead of immediate referral to police, health care providers throughout Ohio are trained to recognize patients experiencing a drug overdose and to quickly administer life saving treatment. In the three years that this program has been in place, two thousand families have been spared losing a loved one to this epidemic. It’s as if the entire town of Caldwell, Columbus Grove, or St. Paris were spared this tragedy.

Further efforts to slow overdose deaths at the source have also found success. Hospitals across Ohio have reworked their prescription practices to limit the number of opioids in circulation – in some cases cutting them by over fifty percent in the last three years. Lastly, Cuyahoga County has instituted a Drug Court where non-violent victims of this epidemic are given treatment options rather than prison time. Evidence from a study performed by Case Western Reserve University shows that persons who passed through this court were far less likely to be arrested again. This data proves that intervention and treatment are vastly more effective than prosecution when combating this public health crisis.

The people of Ohio can be proud that their government is responding to this crisis by working together to improve the lives of every citizen.