Ohio policy

Firearms most common method of suicide in Ohio, HPIO analysis finds

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Firearms are the most common method of suicide in Ohio, according to analysis from the Health Policy Institute of Ohio (as illustrated in the graphic above).

Between 2007 and 2021 (the most-recent year in which data is available), the rate of suicide deaths in Ohio that involved a firearm increased by more than 50%. In 2021, suicides involving a firearm accounted for more deaths than all other means combined.

Suicide is preventable and the state’s 2020-2022 Suicide Prevention Plan include evidence-informed strategies that both public- and private-sector leaders can implement to address the issue.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, please call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386. If you don’t like talking on the phone, consider using the Crisis Text Line at www.crisistextline.org or text “4HOPE” to 741-741.


HPIO brief explores impact of pretrial incarceration, money bail system on health, safety and well-being of Ohioans

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HPIO has released a new policy brief that explores the impact of pretrial incarceration and the money bail system on the health, safety and well-being of Ohioans and their communities. It is the latest in a series of HPIO publications on the connections between criminal justice and health.

The brief, Pretrial Incarceration and the Bail System, includes state and local policy options to reform the money bail system, including options for courts, local governments, prosecutors and the state legislature.

Analysis from 2019 found the number of Ohioans incarcerated pretrial has increased since 2016, and 61% of people in local jails have not been convicted of a crime (outlined in graphic above).

HPIO will be hosting a free 30-minute webinar on the findings in the brief from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29. To register, visit: www.hpio.net/criminal-justice-and-health
 
Downloadable graphics and key data points from the publication, which can be used in presentations and reports, are available on HPIO’s Criminal Justice and Health Facts & Figures page.

This brief was financially assisted by the Ohio State Bar Foundation.


State report details $733 million in spending on substance abuse efforts

Tax dollars are funding more than $733 million in substance abuse education, prevention and treatment in Ohio, according to a report from Gov. Mike DeWine’s office (Source: “Ohio spending $733M on substance abuse and recovery efforts,” Mahoning Matters, Sept. 6).

The Recovery Ohio 2021 Annual Review details spending on at least 47 projects related to education, workforce development, prevention, treatment, data and technology, harm reduction and public safety.

Accidental drug overdoses have been the leading cause of death in Ohio since 2007, according to the Ohio Department of Health. In 2020, 5,017 people died of overdoses in the state, a 25% increase over the previous year. 

Most of Recovery Ohio funding in 2021, $695 million, was spent on prevention programs and resources for school children.


Model predicts potential new wave of accidental drug overdoses

According to modelling from a Northwestern University researcher, the current rise in opioid deaths is not expected to slow anytime soon, and, in fact, may be a warning for one of the largest death waves due to opioids the country has seen to date, with Ohio potentially on the frontline once again (Source: “Model suggests coming wave of opioid deaths bigger than seen before,” Cleveland.com, Aug. 29).

Those who study opioid addiction refer to overdose deaths as coming in waves. And according to research published at the end of July, we may be headed for a tsunami.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, Ohio ranked fourth in the rate of drug overdose mortality in 2020; 75% of those deaths were due to opioid overdose, the CDC found. The overwhelming majority of those — 82% — are synthetic opioids manufactured illicitly, rather than prescription drugs being re-sold on the street.

Lori Ann Post, who studies opioid abuse trends at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said the goal of modeling is to get out in front of the problem because by the time all the toxicology reports come back and the data is input into the CDC databases, policymakers are a year behind; it’s too late by then to make the policy changes that are needed.

HPIO created the Addiction Evidence Project to provide policymakers and other stakeholders with the information needed to evaluate Ohio’s policy response to the opiate crisis and accelerate and continually improve strategies to address substance use disorders in a comprehensive, effective and efficient way.


ODH releases monkeypox data dashboard

The Ohio Department of Health launched a monkeypox data dashboard Thursday, showing cases statewide and per county, and by age ranges, sex, hospitalizations, deaths and other information (Source: “Ohio Department of Health launches new monkeypox data dashboard and interactive map showing locations of all 147 cases,” Cleveland.com, Aug. 25).

ODH plans to update the dashboard each Thursday. Currently, there have been 147 confirmed cases across 19 counties. Cuyahoga County, with 69 cases, has the most, followed by Franklin County, which counts 33 cases. 

Just nine people have been hospitalized and no one has died with monkeypox in Ohio thus far.

The state’s first monkeypox case was reported June 13. Cases have increased in Ohio and across the country in the past few weeks.


State campaign aims to highlight financial resources for substance use disorder treatment

The state is setting up a new education program for financial advisers, to teach them how to better help their clients who are dealing with the impacts of substance use disorder and to pass on information about available resources (Source: “New state program aims to make treatment for substance use disorder more affordable for Ohioans,” Statehouse News Bureau, Aug. 23).

Those on the front lines who are dealing with substance use disorders say families of thousands of Ohioans who go through treatment for it often dip into their retirement savings or destroy their nest egg to access care.

Andrea Seidt, the Ohio Securities Commissioner for the Ohio Department of Commerce said the new state campaign called Recovery Within Reach will include public service announcements on television as well as digital ads. And she said resources are now available on a state website, 
RecoveryWithinReach.Ohio.gov, including a map that shows where treatment is available and gives a variety of payment options for those services.


CMS approves Ohio Medicaid coverage extension for new moms

Federal officials have approved Ohio Medicaid’s plan to extend benefits for new mothers from 60 days to 12 months after the birth of their child (Source: “Ohio Medicaid extends postpartum coverage for new mothers,” Dayton Daily News, Aug. 17).

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), on Tuesday approved the state’s request to extend the coverage.

“Maternal health is a strong predictor of a child’s health, so by extending health coverage for new moms, we are helping to provide the healthiest possible start in life for Ohio’s children,” said Gov. Mike DeWine.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided the option for states to expand this Medicaid coverage for new moms from 60 days to 12 months. The state of Ohio’s budget included this expanded coverage in its portion of Medicaid funding. DeWine said the state of Ohio began this extended coverage on April 1 and CMS’s final approval is the last step to continuing those services.


Ohio set for rollout of COVID vaccines for children younger than 5

With federal approval of pediatric COVID-19 vaccines expected soon, vaccine providers in Ohio have begun placing orders for vaccines for children less than 5 years old, and the first deliveries are expected on Monday, state health officials said (Source: “Ohio ready for rollout of pediatric COVID-19 vaccines when approved, state health official says,” Cleveland.com, June 16).

“The one group that has still been waiting has been our youngest children, those less than 5 years of age and now that appears likely to change,” Ohio Department of Health director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said Thursday in a press briefing.

The vaccine advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently voted unanimously to recommend approval of Pfizer’s application for a vaccine for those ages 6 months through 4 years old. Moderna has applied for a COVID-19 vaccine for ages 6 months through 5 years old.

Next, FDA leadership is expected to issue its approval. On Friday and Saturday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee will meet to make recommendations for the vaccines’ uses. The CDC director must then approve the committee’s recommendations.


Graphic of the week

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HPIO analysis of Ohio Medicaid data has found that Medicaid enrollment increased by more than 580,000 enrollees between March 2020 (the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic) and March 2022, an increase of about 20.5%.

As indicated in the graphic above, Medicaid enrollment grew most significantly between April 2020 and August 2020. This is likely because unemployment was highest during the early months of the pandemic, when an economic recession occurred. Since August 2020, growth in Ohio Medicaid enrollment has stabilized, averaging 0.6% growth per month.

The graphic is included in HPIO's fact sheet that was released last month, “Ohio Medicaid Basics Update: Trends in Enrollment and Expenditures During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”


Nonprofit created to oversee Ohio opioid settlement funds begins work

The decision of how Ohio will spend hundreds of millions of dollars – and maybe more – in opioid settlement money will be up to a new non-profit, whose board met for the first time on Monday (Source: “New nonprofit will decide how to spend hundreds of millions of Ohio’s opioid settlement money,” Cleveland.com, May 16).

The 29-member OneOhio Recovery Foundation Board consists of state representatives, local government leaders, addiction treatment experts and others from around the state. Under an agreement between state and local officials made in 2020, the new foundation will decide how to distribute more than $440 million (or 55%) of an $808 million settlement reached last year with the nation’s three largest pharmaceutical distributors and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson.

Under the agreement, another 30% of the settlement money will get distributed among more than 2,000 local governments in Ohio. The final 15% will go to the state, though Gov. Mike DeWine said OneOhio might also gain control over spending some of the state’s share.