According to newly released information from the Ohio Department of Health, the leading cause of accidental deaths is no longer traffic crashes, but rather unintentional poisoning, almost always the result of a drug overdose (Source: Drug Overdoses Kill More Ohioans Than Car Wrecks ", Columbus Dispatch, April 2, 2009).
With overdose deaths outpacing traffic fatalities in both 2006 and 2007 (the two most recent years for which data is available), ODH officials called drug overdoses "an epidemic in Ohio."
Health officials announced the findings at a press conference at the Statehouse last week, where they decried state budget cuts for drug, alcohol and mental health treatment programs.
"We have a serious problem with opiate addiction," said Joe Trolian, executive director of the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Richland County. "This is not just down and out people from the wrong side of town. This is high school students that died in the family recreation room, athletes who thought they could take just one more pill, older adults who mix drugs and alcohol."
State symposium on prescription drug overdoses July 29, 2009: Epidemic of Prescription Drug Overdoses: A Call to Action