Ohio opioid overdose deaths hit highest rate in 10 years, task force reports

Ohio opioid overdose deaths surged during the second quarter of 2020, making it the deadliest three-month period since the opioid epidemic began, according to a study by the Scientific Committee on Opioid Prevention and Education (SCOPE).

The task force, which was created by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, reported that the death rate from opioid overdoses increased to 11.01 per 100,000 people during the second quarter of 2020. Previously, the highest rate was 10.87 overdoses per 100,000 reported in the first quarter of 2017.

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“Opioid overdoses might have taken a backseat in our minds last year because of COVID-19, but make no mistake: Ohioans are dying at a devastating rate because of opioid overdoses,” Yost said.

He noted that the analysis showed the spike began in April, shortly after Gov. Mike DeWine and former Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton issued a stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The jump in opioid overdose deaths also came after the state had seen a drop in the death rate, which had fallen to six to eight deaths over the last two years.

“This is alarming data, and while COVID has rightly captured our attention, we cannot lose sight of the threat the opioid epidemic brings to all areas of Ohio,” Yost said.

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Scioto County had the highest death rate during the record-setting spike in 2020, with 35.22 deaths per 100,000 people, according to SCOPE.

Clark and Montgomery counties were among the top 10 counties by death rate. Clark County was eighth with 16.63 deaths per 100,000 and Montgomery County was ninth with 16.07 deaths per 100,000.

The 10 counties with the highest opioid overdose death rate were:

  • Scioto County: 35.22 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Fayette County: 20.67 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Franklin County: 19.43 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Gallia County: 19.4 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Ross County: 19.22 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Trumbull County: 17.12 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Huron County: 16.77 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Clark County: 16.63 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Montgomery County: 16.07 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Mahoning County: 15.49 deaths per 100,000 people
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Among Ohio’s 10 largest counties, Montgomery County had the second highest death rate and Butler County was sixth, reporting 13.58 deaths.

The death rate for all 10 of Ohio’s largest counties is the following:

  • Franklin County: 19.43 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Montgomery County: 16.07 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Mahoning County: 15.49 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Lucas County: 15.39 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Lorain County: 13.94 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Butler County: 13.58 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Hamilton County: 12.21 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Summit County: 9.97 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Cuyahoga County: 8.83 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Stark County: 6.92 deaths per 100,000 people
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If you suspect someone is overdosing, call 911. Anyone struggling with substance abuse addiction or who knows someone who needs help can call the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ toll-free help line at 877-275-6364, text 4hope to 741741 or visit www.recoveryisbeautiful.org.

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