Ohio is Home to America’s Deadliest Drug Epidemic – Have State Leaders Done Enough?
Take a deep breath, because this one’s heavy.
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In 2018, America’s opioid epidemic continues to worsen. Ohio is no exception. New data released by the CDC show opioid-related deaths continue to climb, affecting nearly every demographic above age 15. What’s worse is the outlook remains bleak. Whereas previous waves of the deadly epidemic were linked to heroin and prescription drugs, this latest phase is being driven by “fentanyl,” an opioid exponentially more lethal than its predecessors.
Fentanyl is a storm tearing through American towns, especially in the Heartland.
And Ohio is being hit the hardest.
Map showing total opioid deaths for 2014 via kff.org
National news media outlets label Dayton, Ohio “America’s Opioid Capital.” Policy experts and research institutes consistently rank our state right around dead last for overdose management and among the highest ranked for its number of opioid-related deaths.
For several political cycles, Ohio’s state government has been controlled by Republicans who have talked the talk, but dragged their heels to implement a proportional response to the magnitude of this issue. For instance, Ohio’s current Attorney General Mike DeWine (also a Republican candidate for governor) waited until just before election season to take meaningful action. For far too many families and communities who’ve lost loved ones to overdoses, that many say is too-little, too-late.
In local communities across our state, conversations buzz about possible solutions aimed at the crisis. There are real changes we can make through state policy and public programs; and there are people running for office who are capable and determined to step up and take on the crisis. But, in the meantime, the storm rages on.
- Ohio, Public Health, Social Justice