By WAYNE ALLEN
PDT Staff Writer
Preliminary projections from the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS), based on OARRS data, show that nearly 1.5 million fewer opiates were dispensed in Scioto County in 2011.
According to ODADAS, in 2010 there were 9,713,494 opiates dispensed in Scioto County. The preliminary data shows that in 2011 there were 8,234,516, which represents a decrease of 1,478,978 or 20 percent.
“We were pleasantly surprised with the degree of change that we saw in Scioto County. It’s the biggest change in the state with no one even close. Scioto County saw a 20 percent drop, the next closest was 10 percent,” ODADAS Director Orman Hall said.
For the first time in more than a decade drug deaths in Scioto County have decreased. According to Scioto County Coroner Dr. Darren Adams’ office, in 2011 there were 20 deaths directly related to drugs and 11 deaths attributed as drug-related deaths. In 2010, there were 24 deaths directly related to drugs and 19 deaths that were drug-related.
“The rate of drug-related deaths have climbed steadily over the last 10 years. This is the first time we’ve seen that number decline since we started keeping track in 2001,” said Lisa Roberts, public health nurse with the Portsmouth City Health Department. “We know this number has declined because of our efforts and the community’s efforts to interfere with illegal distribution of pain pills. It’s also the result of a lot of community education. It was a wonderful year of the community coming together.”
Hall also attributed some of the success to the passage of House Bill 93, which led to the regulation of pain clinics throughout the state.
“What this shows is that when there is a concerted effort in a community we can make a difference. Scioto County has demonstrated that a difference can be made. There is a lot more that we need to do statewide and there is a lot more that we need to do in Scioto County. The biggest reduction in our state in the number of dispensed pills in 2011 was in Scioto County. That, I believe, is because of all of the hard work and all of the attention that advocates in Scioto County have brought to bear on this problem,” Hall said.