Ohio Drug Deaths at a Record High

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The Ohio Department of Health says a record number of Ohioans died from drug overdoses last year — and once again, painkiller abuse is worsening the problem.

According to ODH, 2,482 people died from overdoses in 2014, an 18 percent increase over the previous year.

The abuse of the painkiller fentanyl, which is often combined with heroin, is pegged as a significant contributor to the increase. Fentanyl is an opiate that is reportedly 30 – 50 times more potent than heroin.

The agency says fentanyl was involved in 502 drug overdose deaths last year, up from only 84 in 2013.

Last year’s overdose deaths included a record 1,177 related to heroin, up from 986 in 2013.

Fatal drug overdoses remain the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio, above car crashes, a trend that began in 2007.

Learn more about fentanyl here. The full ODH report is available here, and a graphic timeline of past key initiatives to combat opiate abuse here.