In areas around the United States, new policies and measures are going into place to help minimize the number of people dying from drug overdoses. It seems to be working, but there is still more work to do. Take a closer look at what is happening in and around Cuyahoga County and the rest of northern Ohio.
2018 Drug Overdose Deaths Drop
One of the most promising bits of news out of Cuyahoga County is that early data shows the number of overdose deaths in 2018 has fallen compared to those in 2017. In 2017, over 700 people in the state died from opiate-related overdoses. In 2018, that number dropped 23 percent.
Why is this happening here? A key reason is the new and larger number of recovery resources made available. This comes, in part, from an expansion of Medicaid in the state of Ohio. There is also broader access to naloxone — the drug used to counteract a drug overdose. Local law enforcement in Cleveland is also working to increase their efforts to confiscate synthetic opiates, such as fentanyl and carfentanil. Another large component of the success comes from a number of public-private partnerships that allowed more people with drug addiction to obtain the hospitalization, detox and follow-up care.
Lethal Drug Combinations Continue to Create Concern
While this news is good, it’s also important to note that Cuyahoga County itself has seen a spike in the amount of highly lethal drug combinations on the streets. These drug cocktails are far deadlier, often creating the risk of a drug overdose death with just one use. In the area, a trend towards cocaine and fentanyl mixtures is on the rise.
Drugs in Jails — Still a Threat
The presence of illicit drugs continues to weigh heavily on the community, though. In Cuyahoga County, an inmate in the county jail suffered an overdose. Officers later found opiates in the jail, but officials wouldn’t say how much was found or the type of the drug. The 44-year-old man was found unconscious with grayed skin laying on his mat. Officers tried to help by using Narcan, and the man was taken to a local hospital and then returned to the jail. As of yet, there hasn’t been further information released including how the drugs made it into the jail in the first place.
Violence Continues to Plague Areas
In Akron, which is about 30 minutes south of Cuyahoga County, violence continues to escalate especially in relation to drugs. One example occurred in January of 2019 when two men entered into a home with intentions to smoke marijuana. However, a verbal argument occurred, leading an unnamed suspect to shoot one of the two entering the home. Police continue to work on understanding what happened in the incident.
What We Know About Fighting the Drug Crisis
The news that drug overdose deaths are dropping is always a good thing, but there’s no simple solution to the opioid crisis. While comprehensive addiction services are essential, it has to be a combined effort to target and eliminate the toll that illicit drug use takes on society.
As noted by reporters in Cleveland, there are too few drug treatment programs to provide the support needed. In 2018, there were still 560 people who died from drug-related deaths. While a drop in the number of deaths is happening, the process is taking time and requires ongoing support.
What to Do If You Need Drug Addiction Help
Treatment from a facility dedicated to providing support and guidance to addicts is at the heart of all solutions for the drug crisis. At FHE Health, we work closely with people from all walks of life who are ready to find the treatment they need.