The OpioId Epidemic in the United States
The opioid crisis in the United States has not spared the state of Ohio, perhaps one of the hardest hit in the entire country by the increase in overdoses from heroin and prescription drugs during the last decade. This has led to the rapid increase of heroin addiction in Ohio in recent years.
It has gotten so severe that the state of Ohio has filed a lawsuit against 5 companies making these prescription pain medications, alleging that these pharmaceutical companies created the opioid epidemic in the state. Among the jaw-dropping statistics found in the official language of the suit:
- Between 2010 and 2016, there were 3.8 billion opioid prescriptions written in Ohio
- In 2016 alone, roughly 20 percent of the state’s population had a prescription for an opiate pain reliever
- The number of statewide overdose deaths rose 36 percent between 2015 and 2016, reaching a total of 4,149.
As a result, limits are being placed on the number of prescriptions for opioid drugs allowed in Ohio pharmacies, but there is another fear associated with this. Ohio is already fighting another war on another front: heroin, which is the cheapest and most readily available choice for people addicted to opiates who can no longer get their prescription medications. The fact is that Ohio is now at the epicenter of the heroin epidemic in the United States.
If you or a loved one are struggling with heroin addiction in Ohio, Lumiere Healing Centers may be the help you need to change your life. For more information about heroin detox and recovery at our state-of-the-art facility, give us a call today.
The Effects of Heroin in Ohio’s Counties
You don’t have to look very hard to find harrowing snapshots from the heroin crisis in different regions of Ohio: in the Cincinnati area, where morgues are overcrowded with overdose victims and where one reporter chronicled the sheer mass amount of overdose deaths in a single week in a national news story.
Montgomery County in Southwestern Ohio led the nation in overdose deaths per capita last year, and every corner of the state is feeling the effects of the issue, which is showing no signs of stopping or slowing down.
In Butler County, 75% of deaths investigated by the county coroner were related to heroin.
The drug overdose mortality rates are stunning in various Ohio counties, according to the County Health Rankings. Here are some of the most alarming results:
- The overdose mortality rate in Brown and Montgomery (Dayton) Counties is 46%, leading the state in this metric
- Hamilton and Butler Counties, both in the Cincinnatti region, are close to the top with 35% and 43% overdose mortality rate, respectively.
- The state’s two most populous counties, Cuyahoga and Franklin home to Cleveland and Columbus, respectively, are both above 20% overdose mortality.
The Introduction of Fentanyl and Carfentanil into Ohio
Ohio is unique because it shows some of the worst damage from heroin addiction when compared to the other 49 states, but few states are immune to the effects of the more dangerous drugs found on the street today. Fentenyl was previously another prescription opioid, known to be around 8000% stronger than morphine, but is now found in a street form, indistinguishable to heroin.
This is important because heroin can be cut or laced with fentanyl or its even more dangerous analog, carfentanil, leading to a much easier and quicker overdose. In Ohio, the overdose numbers show that these two powerful alternatives to heroin are already wreaking havoc.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, heroin by itself led to just over 35% of all overdose deaths in 2016. That may seem high, and it is, but the numbers show that it was a decrease from all three of the previous years. Fentanyl and cartentanil, on the other hand, is estimated to have led to around 60% of overdose deaths in 2016, an increase from about 40% in 2015, and 20% in 2014.
Fentanyl, explained by a Vice article answering the question as to why so many drug dealers are cutting their product with these harmful synthetic opioids, is cheaper than heroin and easier to produce. Most addicts don’t care what gets them high, as long as they are getting the sensation they desire, until it’s too late.
Police Response to the Heroin Addiction in Ohio
The overwhelming response to the battle against heroin addiction in Ohio’s local police departments is one of hopelessness. In Butler County, one of the hardest hit by the epidemic, the sherriff won’t even allow his deputies to carry Narcan, an opioid agonist used for intervention during overdoses because of the lack of good it does over time, citing an ultimate waste of county funds.
In an eastern Ohio city, an officer died from touching fentanyl during a drug enforcement event.
As much as the law enforcement can do to fight the battle against heroin and its alternatives in the state of Ohio, police and government officials are finding it difficult to stay afloat against a seemingly tireless enemy.
Call Lumiere Today
If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction in Ohio, you can’t afford to wait. Seeking help from a dedicated addiction facility like Lumiere Healing Centers is the first step to recovery and lifelong health. For more information, call us today.
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