Painkiller Overdoses Hit Ohio Hard

Fatal overdoses of prescription drugs are having a devastating effect in Ohio, The New York Times reports. In the last decade, fatal overdoses have more than quadrupled and are now more common than car crashes as a cause of accidental death in the state. Last month Ohio Governor John R. Kasich announced the state will spend $36 million in new funding to fight prescription drug abuse.

Portsmouth, Ohio, a town with some of the highest rates of prescription drug overdoses in the state, is seeing an increase in younger overdose victims. Chief of Police, Charles Horner, told the newspaper that the town is now raising third and fourth generations of people who abuse prescription drugs. The article notes that many young people get the drugs indirectly from dealers and others who have access to prescriptions.

9 Responses to Painkiller Overdoses Hit Ohio Hard

  1. NAABT.org | April 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    One thing that Ohio Governor John R. Kasic can do at no cost to the taxpayers is help patients looking for addiction treatment get in touch with a doctor able to offer modern evidence-based addiction treatments. http://www.TreatmentMatch.org is a free service that is doing that. It’s anonymous for the patients and sends an alert email to all area doctors when a new patient registers. Over 40,000 patients have used the system so far.

  2. Mark Yount | April 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    I recently saw previews to a show on the IFC channel called the “The Whitest Kids U’Know”. The preview was about the joys of visiting the old folks home because they had plenty of prescription drugs, like oxycontin, available for your fun. They even sang a song about the joys of getting high at the old folks home. The responsibility for dealing with the abuse of drugs belongs to all of us. However, as long as people see money to be made through the exploitation of this problem we will never get it under control. Free speech is important, but freedom without responsibility is chaos. We also have the freedom of speech to complain to these channels and then stop watching them. We’re all responsible for this problem.

  3. PWKaplan | April 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    My heart goes out to those who have suffered losses due to addiction, but this kind of sensationalized reporting of a problem that, however bad it is in one corner of Ohio, results in death for (by the author’s own statistics) less than 0.008% of the population nationally, tragically diverts resources and attention from where they are really needed and can make a much bigger difference. The answer to this problem is actually quite simple: track prescriptions nationally, require physicians prescribing opiates and other high-risk drugs to receive specialized training, audit those physicians whose prescribing practices are statistical outliers (not to punish, but to re-educate), and discipline only those providers that prescribe illegally (but discipline them vigorously, including prosecution).
    The worst thing we can do is make painkillers unavailable to those who are in chronic pain (a friend recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer was given Darvon by her oncologist and told she might get addicted to anything stronger–even though she was given only six months to live. She died five months later in agony).
    Our country needs to stop taking a law enforcement-first approach to problems like substance abuse which are not legal problems. Deal with the antecedents of substance abuse and people won’t abuse drugs.

    • D W Stegman | April 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm

      Deal with the antecedents of substance abuse and people won’t abuse drugs.

      You must consider that if prescription pain medication is not as readily obtainable, the opiate addict will seek out heroin on the streets. It is just as important to “cure” the addict as it is to remove the sources of opiates. Treatment must be the highest priority!

    • Jennifer R. Huffman | April 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      I agree wholeheartedly with your statements regarding over reporting of certain pockets of drug usage or unfortunate events in certain areas of the country, while ignoring identical stories all over the USA. Doctors often lack the education regarding the prescribing of narcotics, leading to either over prescribing to many who become addicted or withholding them from those whose chronic, unbearable pain will not abate if not given addictive meds. Sad state of affairs and so much more needs to be done, properly, rationally, using common sense approaches, not knee-jerk reactions to a perceived crisis.

  4. Syed Zulfiqar Hussain | April 22, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Painkiller drugs are alarming situation in the world. Many people take drugs with out our GP and the same situation in Pakistan. US Government are trying level best stop drug addiction in and out side the country.

    Syed Zulfiqar Hussain
    Consultant, Anti Narcotics Campaign
    E: youthnarcotics@hotmail.com

  5. Lbrock | April 22, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I grew up in Ohio during the good times (1960′s), most people did well and the middle class flourished. That all changed when Ohio became part of the “rust belt”. I moved on but for those who stayed it has been horrible. Those who are familiar with the impact of trauma and poverty (ACE study)cannot be surprised by the turn of events or the main drug of choice for those living amidst the shards of broken dreams. A new economy has sprung up–opiates are in demand an young entrepeneurs will seize the opportunity. Other youth are left to join the service as no decent opportunities are left in their communities.

  6. Jane Doe | April 23, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Here we go AGAIN… with this bullcr#p POLICE STATE nonsense! Give an inch and they’ll take a MILE. Eventually, these essential, but “evil” opiates will just be altogether BANNED. Even those in genuine pain must suffer because of a few that abuse them… WHAT BUSINESS IS IT OF BIG BROTHER’S ANYWAY?! Let Washington and the law fight the REAL problems that affect EVERYONE… like the DEFICIT! But people do NOT want to jump through even MORE hoops just to get the meds they need…the consequences WILL be dire. I can foresee even ASPIRIN made prescription only– or ILLEGAL ALTOGETHER in the near future! This is RIDICULOUS. A person has the RIGHT to do to their OWN bodies what they will! PLEASE, for the love of G-d stay OUT of my medicine cabinet, and let those in real pain have better access to the meds that make their miserable lives more comfortable!!

  7. Brinna Nanda | April 24, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Let’s be perfectly clear. These deaths are primarily opioid overdoses. The overwhelming anecdotal evidence that the concurrent use of cannabis can greatly reduce the need for opiate-analgesics demands that we immediately reschedule cannabis at the federal level. Doing so would open the way for robust research of this extremely safe substance, and permit its use in pain management.

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