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Ohio overdose deaths in May highest in at least 14 years, ODH reports

Drug overdoses killed more Ohioans in May than in any month in at least 14 years, a potential side effect of the coronavirus pandemic that leaders fear could flare up again before things get back to normal (Source: “Amid pandemic, May was Ohio's deadliest overdose month in more than a decade,” Columbus Dispatch, Oct. 1). 

At least 532 Ohioans died of an overdose in May, preliminary statistics from the Ohio Department of Health's mortality database shows. By comparison, 381 Ohioans died of an unintentional drug overdose in April, according to state data.

The May data is still incomplete; county coroners have six months to investigate, meaning overdose deaths could still climb for that month, according to ODH.

Gov. Mike DeWine said his administration plans to announce a strategy to get money into communities struggling with the opioid epidemic. Incidents of drug abuse and mental health issues have increased during the pandemic, causing them to become a reoccurring topic in the governor's bi-weekly COVID-19 briefings.