Eye on Ohio: how the state is monitoring their opioid crisis

accidental overdose fatalities continue to rise in the Buckeye State.

“Although some attribute this to the distribution of illicit fentanyl, it could also be due to limited access to medication-assisted treatment,” he added. “This would mean that people addicted to opioids are turning to illegal opioids once they are no longer able to get prescribed opioids from their physicians, as they do not have access to essential medications like methadone or buprenorphine to combat their addiction.”

In 2015, Ohio saw 3,050 overdose-related fatalities and approximately 12,847 overdoses reversed through naloxone in 2014, the researchers noted. However, in 2011, the creation of the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Team — which advocated the effective use of opioids, reduction in the supply of opioids, support of overdose preventions, and access to naloxone — reduced the proportion of accidental prescription opioid overdose fatalities from 45 percent in 2011 to 22 percent in 2015.

Penm said he wants all Americans to know that anyone can fall victim to addiction and that it’s not always the person’s fault.

“Too often we look at people addicted to opioids as people who made bad choices and deserve what they get. This is not the case,” he said. “Addiction is a medical disease that can affect people who are predisposed to it. We need to address addiction like any other public health campaign. We need to be able to speak about it openly without any stigma and offer support to people without judgment. These policies should not be seen as diverting resources to addicts but [rather] using resources to help the sick and vulnerable.”