New federal data shows that drug overdose deaths in Ohio increased more than 25% this past year (Source: “Ohio sees 26% increase in fatal drug overdoses,” Ohio Capital Journal, Nov. 30, 2021).
The latest overdose data released last week by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that Ohio went from 4,410 drug overdose deaths last year to 5,585 this year, an increase of 26.6%. The United States has broken the six-figure overdose number, roughly doubling the 49,387 national drug overdose deaths in 2015 to 100,306 in 2021.
While Ohio is close to the national numbers in terms of drug overdose increases, the state is going against the grain in one major area. The CDC reported in March of this year that urban and suburban counties were growing in ODs per capita much than rural counties are. But in Ohio, the per capita OD numbers in smaller counties like Scioto, Columbiana, Adams, Lawrence, and Gallia are much bigger than the big counties like Cuyahoga (Cleveland), Summit (Akron), Stark (Canton), and Hamilton (Cincinnati). Larger suburban counties (Lake, Geauga, Clermont, Delaware) are also much lower than the smaller, more rural counties.
In October, HPIO released a new fact sheet on Ohio policy options for reducing overdose deaths titled Refocusing Ohio’s Approach to Overdose Deaths. This fact sheet, which was released in conjunction with the HPIO policy brief, Taking Action to Strengthen Ohio’s Addiction Response, explores what drives overdose deaths in Ohio, why overdose deaths continue to increase and what state leaders can do to improve overdose prevention.