Did you miss 1590 WAKR's Opioid Roundtable? If so, you missed a great conversation featuring some of the people who are making a difference on the opioid epidemic in our area, including:
You can hear the entire roundtable, plus bonus interviews from the Jasen Sokol Show, in the playlist below.
The latest numbers from the state are out on opioid overdose deaths in Ohio -- and increase of more than one thousand dead by drug OD from 2015 to 2016. Breaking it down by county, Summit County had 25.5 deaths per 100,000 population to lead the greater Akron area, followed by Portage, Stark, Wayne and Medina County in the teens. The worst in our ara was Trumbull County with 34.2 deaths per 100,000. The deadliest county in Ohio is Montgomery -- the Dayton area -- with 42.5 deaths per hundred thousand.
The deadliest drug mixture comes from Fentanyl-related overdoses, nearly two thirds of the total.
READ the entire report at the .pdf link at the bottom
Stark 16.0 per hundred thousand population
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(Ohio Department of Health) Ohio's opioid epidemic continued to evolve in 2016 with stronger drugs driving an increase in unintentional overdose deaths, according to a new report released by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The report shows a sharp rise in overdose deaths involving the opioid fentanyl, the emergence of more deadly fentanyl-related drugs like carfentanil, and indications that cocaine is now being used with fentanyl and other opiates. The report also contains some promising news – the fewest prescription opioid overdose deaths since 2009.
"The continued increase in opioid-related deaths reaffirms that we still have much work to do, but Ohio is seeing important progress in reducing the number of prescription opioids available for abuse and prescription-related overdose deaths," said Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and interim medical director of ODH. "This progress is significant because prescription opioid abuse is frequently a gateway to heroin and fentanyl use later on."
Overdose deaths increased from 3,050 in 2015 to 4,050 last year, and fentanyl and related drugs were involved in 58.2 percent of them. By comparison, fentanyl was involved in 37.9 percent of overdose deaths in 2015, 19.9 percent in 2014, 4 percent in 2013 and 3.9 percent 2012. Illegally produced fentanyl can be hundreds of times stronger than heroin, and carfentanil and other related drugs can be even stronger.
With the emergence of carfentanil in 2016, the fentanyl-related drug was involved in 340 overdose deaths, most of them during the second half of the year. The number of cocaine-related overdose deaths increased from 685 in 2015 to 1,109 in 2016 – a 61.9 percent increase. Of cocaine-related overdose deaths, 80.2 percent also involved an opiate, and 55.8 percent involved fentanyl and related opiates in particular.
Of all unintentional drug overdose deaths, the percentage of prescription opioid-related deaths declined for the fifth straight year in 2016, and the number of such deaths declined 15.4 percent from 667 in 2015 to 564 in 2016, the fewest since 2009. Opioid prescribing in Ohio declined for a fourth consecutive year in 2016, according to the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy. Between 2012 and 2016, the total number of opioids dispensed to Ohio patients decreased by 162 million doses or 20.4 percent. There was a 78.2 percent decrease in the number of people engaged in the practice of "doctor shopping" for controlled substances since 2012.
This progress corresponds with efforts to reduce the prescription opioid supply available for diversion and abuse by stepping up law enforcement efforts, working with medical professionals to establish opioid prescribing guidelines, and empowering prescribers and pharmacists to prevent opioid abuse using Ohio's prescription drug monitoring system, the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS).
Ohio is investing about $1 billion each year to help communities battle the scourge of drug abuse and addiction at the local level, including significant funding to help address treatment, prevention and law enforcement.
those resources include:
-Helping communities purchase the life-saving drug naloxone
- Investing in specialized drug courts that link offenders with treatment
- Providing safe, stable housing to help drug-addicted Ohioans recover
- Increasing funding for individuals needing addiction and behavioral health treatment
- Enforcing Ohio's drug laws to prevent the illegal distribution of powerful synthetic opioids
Ohio's new two-year state budget includes an additional $170 million to support local and state efforts to combat opioid abuse and overdose deaths. At this year's State of the State Address, Gov. John R. Kasich asked the Third Frontier Commission to provide up to $20 million to help bring new scientific breakthroughs to the battle against drug abuse and addiction. The Third Frontier Commission approved this request in May and will announce the first funded projects in December.
The state also is surging resources into communities hardest hit by Ohio's opioid epidemic.
The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will receive up to $26 million a year during the next two years through the federal 21st Century Cures Act to help fight Ohio's opioid epidemic at the state and local levels. The funding will help support medication-assisted treatment; prevention; screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment; recovery supports; workforce development; and addressing secondary trauma among first responders (EMS personnel, firefighters, law enforcement, etc.).
ODH has been awarded a four-year federal grant totaling $6.6 million to combat prescription drug overdoses. ODH has awarded grants to 14 high-burden counties to implement comprehensive prescription drug overdose prevention programs focusing on coalition development, healthcare prescriber education and healthcare system changes for safer opioid prescribing practices, and increasing access to the opiate overdose reversal drug naloxone.
In addition, members of the Governor's Opiate Action Team have met with local leaders in 20 Ohio communities that have the highest burden of drug overdoses to ensure that communities are mounting a coordinated response and taking advantage of the tools and resources that the state has made available. Promising local practices were identified during these visits and have helped inform the development of an updated Action Guide to Address Opioid Abuse as a resource for Ohio's communities.
Derrick Sales, 24, of Akron, was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday for selling the fentanyl that killed a Cuyahoga Falls woman back in June of last year.
Court documents show that Sales sold the deadly opioid to Sheena Moore who was found dead in her home on June 9, 2016. An autopsy later revealed it was in fact fentanyl that killed her. Sales was arrested a charged with Involuntary Manslaughter, Having a Weapon Under Disability, and Aggravated Trafficking in Fentanyl and Carfentanil, all of which were felonies. He was found guilty in Summit County Common Pleas Court on April 14, 2017.
In a statement released Friday, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said, “These drugs have devastated our community and these dealers of death need to be held accountable. We will fight every day for people like Sheena Moore. Sheena never had a chance to live her life. Sheena’s grieving family is forced to pick up the pieces because these drug dealers have no regard for the destruction they leave behind.”
Moore was 31-years-old.
Summit County officials estimate that 2016 was a record-setting year for the number of drug overdose deaths in the county.
Tests are still being conducted, and won't be completed until Spring, 2017, but officials estimate the total number of overdose deaths is somewhere between 225 and 250 for 2016. That would be an 11.3% increase over 2015, according to officials.
Dr. Margo Erme with Summit County Public Health says, while the numbers are not surprising, there needs to be concentrated effort from health officials, law enforcement, and the public. "There is no one solution," Erme says. "We did not get to the situation overnight and it's multifactorial as to how we got here, so there is not going to be a single fix.
Dr. Erme notes the number of visits to Summit County emergency departments that were attributed to drug overdoses was about 2,423. She says that has a lot to do with the prevalence of more deadly drugs, including fentanyl and carfental.
A new proposed law hopes to plug a loophole that brings in the powerful drugs fentanyl and carfentanil into the U.S...which have laced heroin in Akron and other cities in Ohio.
Sen. Rob Portman's bill would require foreign shippers to provide electronic data in advance when using the U.S. postal system.
"Information would include who and where it's coming from, who its going to, where it's going, what's in it," Sen. Portman told reporters in a late Tuesday afternoon conference call. "This information I think would make it much less likely that these chemists who are pushing this poison would use the mail system as they do know."
Sen. Portman tells reporters that using the U.S. mail system allows shippers in countries like China and India to get around standards that already exist for private carriers,
He says it would will help U.S. customs agents go after possibly illegal shipments that could end up here.
Portman plans to introduce the proposed legislation this week.
It's not just heroin that's the problem in a string of heroin overdoses in the Akron area.
NewsChannel 5 reports that police believe that heroin laced with carfentanil - an animal tranquilizer - is responsible for more deadly overdoses.
88 overdoses in the city of Akron in the past 10 days have killed 8 people. The powerful animal anesthetic is being linked to two of the deaths, on Akron's Copley Road and in New Franklin.
The drug is so new to police, that Akron and Cleveland police have visited the Cleveland Zoo, where it's used on large animals such as elephants.
On the Web: WEWS NewsChannel 5, www.newsnet5.com