The opioid epidemic in Ohio has taken a devastating toll on communities across the state, with deaths caused by the misuse of opioid medications such as oxycodone and fentanyl rising almost every year.
There are many factors that have contributed to the opioid crisis in Ohio, including widespread poverty and the unregulated prescription of painkillers for chronic pain, which is how many people become addicted in the first place. Economic hardship often goes hand in hand with substance abuse, which has certainly been the case in Ohio, especially in areas outside of larger cities where the local economy offers few opportunities for people to improve their financial circumstances.
The Opioid Crisis
The opioid crisis is a nationwide problem, affecting every part of the United States. Although the impact varies from state to state, the opioid epidemic affects people from all walks of life and was declared a public health emergency by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services in 2017. Although measures have and are being taken to address this issue, it is still one of the greatest challenges we face today as a society. Here are some recent statistics to give you an idea of just how prevalent opioid addiction is:
- Over 400,000 people have died in the United States from opioid-related use since 2000
- There were approximately 155 million non-fatal emergency room visits due to opioid use in 2016 and 2017
- About 1.6 million people misuse prescription opioids for the first time every year
- Opioid-related deaths have increased by 50% since the release of the synthetic opiate fentanyl in 2013
Why Did Ohio Get Hit Particularly Hard
The opioid epidemic has hit hardest in Ohio, with the South Western county of Montgomery being named the overdose capital of the United States. Ohioans share common risk factors with people from other states that make them vulnerable to substance abuse, including poverty, childhood trauma, domestic violence, mental health disorders, and other societal issues.
Although these are prevalent and important issues that must be addressed, the root cause of the drug epidemic in Ohio is more complex and cannot be narrowed down to these factors alone.
South Western Ohio in particular has served as a hub for drug cartel activity and has been harmed by the unethical and unregulated overprescribing of medication by doctors and clinicians in so-called Pill Mills. Ohio was, in fact, one of the states that were targeted by Big Pharma with the rollout of prescription opioids such as oxycodone in the early 2000s, which devastated many communities.
Ohio legislation regulating the prescription length of opiates has lagged behind many other states, which has made it even more difficult to tackle the opioid epidemic state-wide with the rates of substance abuse fatalities rising every year.
How Large Is The Opioid Problem In Ohio?
Opioid abuse is widespread across Ohio, though the type of opioid used varies. Here are some recent facts and statistics to help give you an idea of just how large the opioid crisis is in Ohio:
An estimated 200,000 people in Ohio struggle with an opioid addiction
As of 2015, nearly 85% of all accidental overdose deaths in Ohio were caused by taking a synthetic opiate such as fentanyl
Over 5,000 Ohioans died from a drug-related overdose in 2021
Unintentional drug poisoning became the leading cause of death in Ohio in 2007, surpassing car accident fatalities for the first time ever
Opioid Overdoses Hurt Families And Communities
Opioids are highly addictive, dangerous drugs that stimulate the pleasure center in a persons brain. Although it can take several weeks for someone to develop a physical dependency, even the first dose of an opioid effects a person psychologically, making them more vulnerable to addiction.
Once someone has become addicted to an opioid, they have to be aware of the opioid withdrawal timeline of the drug theyre taking to avoid experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. Some opioids, like heroin, enter the bloodstream right away, while others take longer to kick in.
If someone with an opioid addiction suddenly stops using, goes too long in between doses, or takes too high of a dose, they can go into shock or cardiac arrest. Accidental opioid overdoses are quite common, because people are essentially gambling when they take street opioids like fentanyl, and may have no way of knowing how strong the drug theyre taking is.
Families are devastated by the opioid crisis, and often feel powerless to help loved ones in active addiction. Addiction creates chaos and affects every aspect of a persons life and wellbeing, including their relationships.
When families lose children to opioid addiction, or when a childs parent cant be present because of their addiction, the family unit breaks down and it becomes more difficult to maintain stable homes and communities. Addiction in less affluent areas hits even harder because there are fewer resources available to help people, creating a vicious cycle.
While many initiatives are being taken across the country to combat this issue, the best way to help people struggling with substance abuse is to get them into a treatment program.
Signs Of An Opioid Addiction
Common signs of opioid addiction are behavioral and emotional as well as physical. Once someone has developed a physical dependence on an opioid, their behavior tends to revolve around obtaining more of the substance they are taking while hiding their addiction from friends and family.
Someone who is using opioids may begin to socially withdraw and isolate themselves, have financial difficulties, and may also be unable to manage their responsibilities at home, school, or work.
They may even display uncharacteristic behavior like breaking the law, stealing from family members, and more. Some physical signs of opioid addiction include:
- Weight loss
- Being sick with flu-like symptoms
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Not taking care of personal hygiene
- Being drowsy or tired often
- Opioid withdrawal symptoms
Options For Treatment
If you are struggling with substance abuse, getting on the right treatment plan is of the utmost importance. Whether that means attending a residential rehab program or an outpatient program, most treatment centers offer customizable options to help people safely detox from opioids.
Detoxing from drugs or alcohol is the first step of any treatment plan. When it comes to opioid addiction, medication-assisted detox under the supervision of a doctor is usually required to safely transition people off of prescription medications or illicit street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.
Residential treatment programs are often the best choice for people struggling with drug addiction as they provide intensive therapy and supervision 24/7. Residential programs can be anywhere from 30-90 days long, giving people the opportunity to detox and begin healing in a safe environment.
A Partial hospitalization program, also known as a PHP, is recommended for people who cant take time off from their busy schedules to receive treatment. Although PHPs are less immersive than residential programs, they still offer excellent care, therapy, and support groups to help people on their recovery journey.
Intensive outpatient programs, also known as an IOP, allow people to get the support and help they need while they live at home. IOPs are a good choice for people with a safe home and strong support system and are also a helpful way to transition back into everyday life after attending a residential treatment program.
How We Can Help You
Ethan Crossing is a treatment center you can trust. Located in Springfield, Ohio, we offer a variety of treatment programs for people struggling with opioid addiction and other substance use disorders, including medically assisted detox and partial hospitalization programs.
We are on a mission to connect with people and guide them through every step of their recovery journeys. Our contemporary healing spaces and dedicated, trained staff are here to empower you and help you achieve your recovery goals.
We offer several treatment modalities for addiction and mental health disorders and customized treatment plans that take your specific needs to heart. Reach out to us today if you or a loved one are struggling with addiction.