Scioto County tops state in prescription opioid deaths

April 30, 2013

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

A press conference was held in Columbus Tuesday with officials from the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services along with other state agencies to talk about the 2011 rate of increase for prescription opioid deaths in Ohio.

According to ODADAS, Scioto County was the leader in the state in prescription opioid deaths in 2011 with 25 deaths compared to 22 the year before.

“The slowed increase provides a ray of hope but underscores just how much work still needs to be done to free Ohio from the prescription drug overdose epidemic and the resulting growth of heroin use and overdoses,” said Dr. Ted Wymyslo, Director of the Ohio Department of Health in a released statement. “Prescription drug abuse is a complex substance abuse and we are attacking on several different fronts.”

Among those attending the meeting was Lisa Roberts, Public Health Nurse with the city of Portsmouth Health Department.

“Despite the recent release of the 2011 statistics and the bad news of the increase in fatal overdose for Ohio, there is a tremendous amount of dedication and work in progress to curtail it,” said Roberts on Facebook Tuesday. “We are hearing from so many other communities that they are being blindsided by prescription opiates and heroin. We got to showcase our Naloxone Project Dawn today and other areas are starting to replicate it. What a task we have at hand. It’s a bit like trying to clean up a flood with a spoon while it just keeps raining.”

Officials cited that in 2011 House Bill (H.B.) 93 was signed into law regulating pain clinics throughout Ohio calling it a first and critical step.

Throughout the state the percent of increase in deaths tied to opioid drug overdoses in 2011 was cut in half from 2010.

“We are encouraged that the rate of increase is going down but the number is still unacceptably high,” said Orman Hall, ODADAS Director in a released statement. “As pill mills become increasingly scarce, we will see a shift to heroin and other non-prescription drugs so our interventions must be comprehensive and well supported as we move forward.”

Some of the other strategies implemented by the state to combat against this issue include a Naloxone education and distribution program in Scioto County and placing drug drop off boxes around the state as a way for people to safely dispose of prescription drugs.

For more information about the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services visit, www.odadas.state.oh.us/public.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.