Unintentional Drug Overdose Deaths Remain an Urgent Community Problem

May 20, 2016

In light of the ongoing heroin epidemic in our community, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County has released the following data reports:  pdf Montgomery County Poisoning Death Review: 2010-2015 (1.12 MB)  and the  pdf Unintentional Drug Overdose Data Review (3.10 MB) . These reports highlight the continuing epidemic and devastating consequences of illegal drug use in the county. In 2015, 259 people died in Montgomery County, Ohio due to an unintentional drug overdose, a number that is only slightly lower than the 264 deaths in 2014. Representatives of Public Health, ADAMHS, the Coroner’s Office, and Law Enforcement agree that the high number of unintentional drug overdoses remains an urgent public health crisis that calls for increasing community efforts and collaborative interventions to save lives and provide help for those in need.

The Unintentional Drug Overdose Data Review summarizes the significant problem of unintentional drug overdose deaths in Montgomery County. Comparing 2014 and 2015, the overdose epidemic continued at a very high level, with heroin and illicit fentanyl having a sustained impact. From 2010 - 2015, Montgomery County recorded 1168 drug overdose deaths, and has one of the highest death rates for counties in Ohio. Since 2010, unintentional drug overdose deaths have increased 104%. There has also been an increase in the number of inpatient hospital and emergency department visits and emergency response calls due to unintentional overdoses.

The Dayton Police Department (DPD) began using naloxone (Narcan) to reverse the effects of an overdose in September of 2014. In 2015, DPD successfully revived 95% of overdose victims that were administered Narcan. It cannot be ruled out that the number of deaths could be higher without the substantial use of naloxone.

Montgomery County Poisoning Death Review: 2010 - 2015 Highlights

  • In 2015, the four-year trend of high levels of unintentional drug overdose deaths involving heroin continued. In 2010, there were 39 overdose deaths involving heroin, but in 2015, the number of deaths increased to 107.
  • Illicit fentanyl continues to be a major contributor to unintentional overdose deaths in Montgomery County. In 2015, 41% of overdose deaths involved illicit fentanyl. There has been a 355% increase since 2013.

Montgomery County Health Commissioner Jeffrey Cooper, explains, “Montgomery County has the second highest drug overdose rate in the state of Ohio, which has continued to devastate our community and the safety and well-being of our citizens. It is an epidemic. There is a need for continued collaboration and coordination. Reducing the number of unintentional drug overdose deaths and combating the drug abuse problem in Montgomery County require the collective efforts of law enforcement, the criminal justice system, addiction and treatment professionals, public health, healthcare providers, faith-based groups, educators, and the citizens of this county.”

Helen Jones-Kelley, Executive Director of Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services, states, “The chronic illness of addiction needs our attention as a brain disease. We need to shift our misconception about addiction and chart a new course of action that understands how mental illness and substance use are intertwined. We must treat more than just the addiction if there is going to be any hope of getting these poisons out of our homes, schools and neighborhoods.

Poison Dealth chart

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