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ODH reports that Ohio overdose death rates dropped 22% in 2018


Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio


Fatal drug overdoses dropped more than 22% in Ohio last year, the first decline since 2009 and a sign that the state may be turning the corner on the decade-old drug epidemic (Source: “Ohio Drug Deaths Plunge 22% in 2018, but Rise in Franklin County,” The Columbus Dispatch, August 30, 2019).

County coroners reported 3,764 accidental drug deaths in 2018, 1,090 fewer than the previous year’s record high of 4,854, according to preliminary data on unintentional drug deaths reported to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The numbers will be finalized in a few weeks but are not expected to change significantly.

Ohio’s decrease was more than four times the national decline of 5%, according to provisional data released separately by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which calculates deaths slightly differently. Ohio had the third-largest drop among states but still has among the highest rates of fatal drug overdoses in the country.

Of Ohio’s 88 counties, 61 had fewer fatal overdoses in 2018, 24 had more, and three counties reported no change. Most of the counties reporting higher death tolls were in the southeastern portion of the state. There also was a pocket of six counties around Toledo in northwest Ohio that had higher death tolls.

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