Second only to California in 2014 in terms of the number of drug overdose related deaths with 2,744 well ahead of Pennsylvania’s 2,732 but definitely better off than California’s 4,521 drug overdose associated deaths, Ohio’s drug treatment and enforcement officials need to think of better strategies to curb this growing menace. For 2014, there were 24.6 persons who die because of drug overdose for every 100,000 deaths. What is more disturbing is that the 2014 figures were actually 17 percent higher than its 2013 record of 2,347 deaths accounting for 20.8 drug overdose related deaths for every 1,000 deaths.
Ever since the first national report on the growing prevalence of drug overdose deaths in 2011 was made known to the general public, Ohio and the rest of the country began creating programs that are intended to bring more drug dependents to the different drug rehabilitation facilities all over the state and the nation. In Ohio alone, the government has collaborated with various community sectors and other concerned groups in an effort to enact a more sensible and more responsible use of prescription medications. The Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force was created to improve the education of the public on the dangers of misusing prescription drugs particularly opioid analgesics. Drug rehab personnel and prescribing physicians were also empowered to be more responsible in the practice of their profession especially when it comes to addiction treatment. However, it would seem that Ohio’s drug overdose mitigation schemes did not work out well.
The Ohio government also stepped up its drug overdose surveillance and naloxone distribution. In what could be hailed as one of the state’s best moves so far, making naloxone available to community drug addiction treatment programs can effectively reverse any potentially fatal overdose reactions from opioid analgesic misuse. However, the data seem to suggest that even this is not working anymore. An addiction center in Ohio can only watch in disbelief as more and more people die senselessly simply because of their refusal to seek professional drug addiction treatment. Many believe that it is only a matter of time before the drug problems in Ohio will reach the proportions as those in California.
And this is something that everyone in Ohio needs to be thinking about. Public awareness is being expanded and being pursued with increased vigor. It is deemed that for any drug treatment and drug rehabilitation programs to become successful the general public must be able to understand and readily feel the immensity and gravity of the drug problem. It is no use having so many drug rehabilitation facilities – well equipped and well-staffed – if there are no takers of these services. It becomes all the more important for Ohio to consider giving amnesty to drug dependents in an effort to entice them to come out in the open and seek professional drug rehab and treatment services.
Additionally, Ohio’s communities must band together to really address the drug problem so that more members will be encouraged to seek drug addiction treatment.
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