Clark County overdose deaths fall 40 percent in 2018

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Clark County Public Health says their overdose death number dropped 40 percent in 2018. So far this year, there have been 19 overdose deaths, showing more work still needs to be done.

A 40 percent drop in overdose death rates is good, but a 26 percent increase in deaths for people ages 25-34 is bad.

While opioids are the major problem, Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson points to a resurgence in other drugs.

“We are seeing an increase in methamphetamine use and an increase in cocaine use. Unfortunately, we are still seeing those drugs spiked with fentanyl,” said Patterson.

Any public health official or law enforcement officer will tell you these numbers don’t mean anything until they cease to exist at crisis level.

“If we lose one person, it’s too much. The numbers are giving us hope that some of the programming we are doing is working,” said Patterson.

With Narcan and needle exchange programs running at full steam, treatment options are growing too. Addicts are getting help as soon as they recover from their overdose.

In 2018 48.44 percent of drug overdose deaths in Clark County had a documented mental diagnosis. The most common diagnosis was depression and anxiety.

Clark County Health officials say mental health issues often lead to substance abuse. They are focusing on ways to give families the tools they need to avoid addiction altogether.

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