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Increase in Ohio prescription painkiller deaths slows
With recent crackdowns on prescription drug abuse, state officials hope to see a decrease in death toll as well
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT BILL COHEN


Reporter
Bill Cohen
 
Orman Hall is the Executive Director at Fairfield County Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board
Courtesy of The Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services
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There’s good news and bad news in Ohio’s battle against drug abuse. The bad news is the number of deaths linked to drugs continues to increase. The good news is the rate of increase is slowing down. Statehouse Correspondent Bill Cohen has more on the story.

Hear Cohen talk about the increase in Ohio prescription painkiller deaths slowin

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In 2010, Ohio saw a 26 percent increase in the number of drug overdoses tied to prescription painkillers.

New numbers for 2011 show the increase was trimmed to 13 percent. Officials note that, in the middle of 2011, legislators cracked down on prescription drug abuse, and some notorious pill mills in southern Ohio were shut down by authorities.

So they're hoping that, because last year was the first for which the crackdown was fully in effect, updated numbers will ultimately show little or no increase in drug- abuse related deaths and eventually an actual decrease.

The head of Ohio’s Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, Orman Hall, is warning that, as safe guards take hold, Ohio will see a shift to heroin and other non-prescription drugs. He’s using that as an argument for Ohio legislators to OK an expansion in the Medicaid program because that can free up local money for new addiction treatment centers. 

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