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Drug Overdoses Killed 4,050 People In Ohio Last Year

Opioid Pills

Ohio’s overdose deaths increased by a third last year to 4,050, meaning that on average, 11 Ohioans are dying each day from overdoses. According to the numbers released today by the Ohio Department of Health, more than half of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

Fentanyl and related drugs were a tiny percentage of the epidemic as late as 2013, but escalated dramatically in the last three years. And the even more powerful carfentanil – a large-animal tranquilizer – emerged in a big way in the second half of last year, killing 340 people in all of 2016.

The report comes as President Trump considers officially declaring the opioid crisis a "national emergency," which would open additional federal resources to affected states.

The one bright spot in the report is that deaths from prescription opioids – which largely created the epidemic – dropped for the fifth straight year in 2016 to the lowest number since 2009.

Franklin County saw 314 overdose deaths in 2016, up from 279 the previous year. In total, 1,385 people in the county have died from overdoses since 2004.

Here’s a closer look at the statewide numbers:

  • Overdose deaths in 2015: 3,050
  • Overdose deaths in 2016: 4,050
  • Percent overdose deaths fentanyl-related in 2012: 3.9 percent
  • Percent overdose deaths fentanyl-related in 2013: 4 percent
  • Percent overdose deaths fentanyl-related in 2014: 19.9 percent
  • Percent overdose deaths fentanyl-related in 2015: 37.0 percent
  • Percent overdose deaths fentanyl-related in 2016: 58.2 percent
  • Carfentanil-related deaths  in 2016: 340
  • Prescription opioid-related deaths in 2015: 667
  • Prescription opioid-related deaths in 2016: 564
  • Opioid prescriptions from 2012 to 2016: Declined 20.4 percent 
Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.