Overdose epidemic: 6 things that explain the crisis

Unintentional drug overdose is the leading cause of injury-related death in Ohio – more than motor vehicle crashes – a trend beginning in 2007.

Deaths from prescription opioids – the pain pills on which many Ohioans get hooked and then graduate to heroin -- has declined in recent years. But deaths due to heroin and the extraordinarily potent analog fentanyl continue to climb.

Here are numbers to understand the issue:

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500,000 Americans: From 2000 to 2015 more than half a million Americans died from drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A majority involved opioids.

Heroin is seen at the bottom of a test tube at the Montgomery County Crime Lab. STAFF PHOTO / CHRIS STEWART
Photo: Staff Writer

3,050 Ohioans: At least 3,050 Ohio residents died of drug overdoses in 2015, the last year for which complete data are available, according to the Ohio Department of Health.  

85 percent of overdoses: Opioids such as heroin and fentanyl were involved in almost 85 percent of 2015 Ohio overdose deaths.

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37 percent increase: In Montgomery County, an estimated 355 people died during 2016 of drug overdoses -- a 37-percent increase over 2015 -- according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. In just the first month of this year, the office is investigating 54 suspected overdose deaths.

2 years old to 87 years old: A 2-year-old boy was the youngest person to die from an overdose last year in Montgomery County. The oldest is suspected to be an 87-year-old woman.

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$5 to $10: Heroin and illicit fentanyl can be purchased in “caps” on Miami Valley streets for as little as $5 to $10, according to law enforcement and users surveyed between January and June last year by the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network.