Opioid Addiction in Columbus
Columbus is the capital and largest city of the state of Ohio. It’s also the 14th largest city in the U.S. The opioid epidemic is raging in Columbus, and Ohio leads the nation in opioid overdose deaths. In 2016, 4050 drug overdose deaths were reported, a 33 percent increase from 2015. Additionally, 1 in 9 heroin-related deaths that happen in the U.S. occur in Ohio. The Kaiser analysis showed that Ohio had the highest number of deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl and Carfentanil, with 7.4 percent of national deaths attributed to the state. Illegally-produced Fentanyl can be 50 to 100 times stronger than Heroin.
The annual cost of Opioid misuse including addiction and overdose in the state of Ohio is estimated to be between $6.6 billion to $8.8 billion. Ohio only has the capacity to treat 20% to 40% of the estimated 92,000 to 170,000 state residents who are misusing or dependent on Opioids. At least 60% of those people dependent or misusing opioids lack access to proper treatment.
In Columbus specifically, overdose deaths continue to spike. Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz said Columbus saw 268 overdose deaths between January and June of 2017.
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Solutions to Treat Addiction in Columbus
Medication-assisted treatment is a clinically effective and cost-efficient approach to treating opioid addiction in Ohio. Unfortunately, Ohio only has 26 certified methadone treatment centers and 377 doctors who are certified to prescribe Buprenorphine. A shift needs to be made from stopping over-prescription of pain medication and pill mills to treating those who already have an opioid use disorder.
Insurance companies in Ohio are also limiting access to opioids. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced that prescribed opioids for members in Ohio have dropped by 16 percent. Anthem said they are limiting coverage of Opioids to 7 days for those who are newly starting opioids, directing those at risk for opioid addiction to one pharmacy and requiring provider prior authorization. The federal government’s opioid committee has turned its attention to the role of health insurance policies in the addiction epidemic.
In February 2017, officials also started a new billboard campaign to raise awareness about drug misuse and the need for public participating in the state of Ohio for tackling the addiction epidemic. The campaign was launched by Ohio’s Department of Public Safety and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services with members donating 200 digital, poster, and bulletin billboards with the messages. “Start talking!” and “Dial #677 for impaired drivers.”
Start Talking is Ohio’s Drug Prevention Program that provides tips for talking to youth that gives tips for talking to youth about drug-free lives. The number 677 is Ohio’s all-purpose line to report drug activity, impaired drivers, and any other highway safety concerns to the State Highway Patrol.
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Overcoming addiction is one of the most challenging obstacles many Columbus residents will ever face, but it is far from hopeless. There are drug and alcohol treatment centers throughout the Columbus region and across the country that can help you or your loved one start on the road to recovery. Contact a dedicated treatment provider now to help find the right rehab facility for you.