The Ohio Health Department puts the official death toll last year from accidential drug overdoses at 4,854 people. That’s more than 13 people a day, and a 20 percent increase over 2016. But Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports Gov. John Kasich says there is good news in those numbers.
The report says more than 7 in 10 drug deaths involved fentanyl – a 22 percent increase over 2016 and a nearly 4,000 percent increase over the last five years. Because of fentanyl cocaine deaths are up 39 percent, and deaths from meth soared 130 percent. But Kasich notes Ohio hit an eight-year low in deadly prescription painkiller overdoses and heroin deaths are at a four-year low.
“There is a perception – I may be incorrect about this – that somehow this problem of drug abuse in our state is raging out of control. That is simply not true.” Kasich credits the drop to tougher guidelines on prescribers, stronger drug monitoring and new regulations on drug wholesalers.