Ohio Launches New Effort To Track Drug Overdose Deaths
- Ohio Dashboards Track Information On Overdose Deaths
- How The Effort Began
- Addiction Treatment Services
To reduce drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl, Ohio recently launched data dashboards that track overdose deaths and other substance-use-related measures throughout the state. Communities can use this data to identify the most effective interventions for drug misuse and addiction.
In 2020, 5,017 Ohioans died of unintentional drug overdoses, a 25% increase from the previous year. In 2021, there were 5,210 unintentional overdose deaths. Most of these deaths involved opioids, especially synthetic (human-made) opioids such as fentanyl.
To reduce these fatalities, Ohio recently launched a new initiative to track data on overdose deaths throughout the state. This data will help each county establish the most effective treatment and prevention strategies.
New Ohio Dashboards Track Information On Overdose Deaths
On March 7th, 2023, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a new system of data dashboards that track information on overdose deaths for all 88 Ohio counties.
Tracking Other Substance-Use Related Measures
The dashboards also track other substance-use-related measures, including high-risk opioid prescribing, overdoses treated in emergency rooms, and the distribution of naloxone. Naloxone (brand name Narcan) is a medication that can rapidly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
A First For Ohio
This initiative marks the first time that Ohio has organized all behavioral health data from multiple parts of the state into one online location. As a result, it will help the state and each of its counties better understand trends in drug misuse, overdose, and treatment.
Using The Data
Community leaders and researchers can use this information to figure out which evidence-based treatment and prevention strategies will best help their communities.
Over the next few months, the state will provide virtual training to teach communities how to make the most of the dashboards.
Eventual Expansion To All Substances Of Abuse
Currently, the dashboards mainly include data on opioid misuse. However, the state plans to eventually expand them to include data on all types of substance misuse.
How The Effort Began
The dashboards were inspired by similar dashboards created in a HEALing Communities Study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of its Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative (NIH HEAL Initiative).
This study was the largest implementation study in the history of addiction research. It tested treatment and prevention strategies for opioid misuse, opioid use disorder (also called opioid addiction), and opioid overdose in states hit hard by the opioid epidemic, including Ohio.
Ohio State University Study
The Ohio portion of the study started in 2019. Led by Ohio State University, it brought together a consortium of academic, state, and community partners, including experts from the University of Cincinnati, Case Western Reserve University, and Ohio University.
During the study, researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine created data dashboards for 18 Ohio counties.
Like the new statewide dashboards, these dashboards tracked opioid overdose deaths and other substance-use-related measures. The researchers used them to identify the best evidence-based interventions for each county.
Due to the success of these dashboards, the Ohio government chose to implement them throughout the state.
Signs Of Drug Misuse & Addiction
If you think you or someone you love might be misusing drugs, look for these signs:
- mood swings
- avoidance of family and friends
- loss of motivation
- loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- difficulty completing tasks at work, school, or home
- doctor shopping (visiting multiple doctors to get multiple drug prescriptions)
- decline in personal hygiene
Drug misuse often leads to addiction (substance use disorder). This serious disease makes you feel unable to stop using drugs even if you want to. The most common symptoms are tolerance and physical dependence.
Tolerance means you need increasingly larger or more frequent doses of a drug to feel the desired effects. Physical dependence means you experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use drugs.
Addiction Treatment Services
Like other diseases, addiction requires treatment. Most treatment plans include services such as:
- medical detox, in which doctors help you slowly and safely stop using drugs with minimal withdrawal symptoms
- behavioral therapy, in which a mental health professional helps you manage drug cravings and any other mental health concerns
- medication-assisted treatment, in which doctors prescribe medications to ease cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid and alcohol addiction
- support groups, in which you can discuss your experiences with other people recovering from addiction
To learn more about addiction treatment options, please reach out to Ohio Recovery Center. Our inpatient treatment programs offer personalized, comprehensive care to help you or your loved one stay drug-free.
Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team
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