A nationwide study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta paints a grim portrait of Ohio as the second worst state for opioid drug-induced deaths.
However, there’s a startlingly brighter picture in Fulton County that has been attributed to the cooperation between local help networks.
Released late in December, the CDC study shows Ohio with 39.1 age-adjusted drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people in 2016. That rate was almost twice the overdose rate nationally, at 19.8 deaths per 100,000. It also jumped substantially from the state’s 2015 rate of 29.9 deaths per 100,000 people.
Ohio narrowly edged New Hampshire, with 39 drug overdose deaths per 100,000, as the second worst state listed.
The highest recorded rate of overdose deaths was in West Virginia, at 52 per 100,000. Other states with high overdose death statistics included the District of C0lumbia, at 38.8 per 100,000, and Pennsylvania, at 37.9 per 100,000.
The lowest age-adjusted drug overdose death rates in the country were observed in Iowa and North Dakota, at 10.6; Texas, a 10.1; South Dakota, at 8.4; and Nebraska, at 6.4.
In 2016, the U.S. recorded over 63,600 drug overdose deaths. The age-adjusted rate was 21 percent higher than in 2015, and three times higher than in 1999. Twenty-two states and the District Columbia had statistically-higher age-adjusted drug overdose death rates than the national average.
The CDC study also found that:
• The highest rates of drug overdose deaths occurred among people in age groups 25-34, 35-44, and 45-54.
• In that age-adjusted drug overdose deaths category, those death involving synthetic opioids except methadone doubled between 2015 and 2016.
• Age-adjusted drug overdose rates were almost double in 2016 for males than for females.
The U.S. Department of Health reported an average of 17.4 age-adjusted unintentional drug overdose deaths per 100,000 population in the county between 2011 and 2016.“We’ve always been able to put people into detox as soon as they need it. It’s never been a problem,” he said. “The reason (overdose deaths) are so low around here is because the services are available.”
“Personally, I think it’s never too young to start,” she said.
McCaslin said the low rate of drug overdose deaths in Fulton County doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. He said the county is fortunate to have a strong support system that gives users a fighting chance.
“I’m very proud of what our county has done,” he said.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.