Tuesday, 08 January 2019 12:42

City of Green Says Overdoses Down in 2018

(City of Green) Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer is pleased to announce that the Green Fire Division administered Narcan, the antidote to reverse a drug overdose, 20 less times (or 33% less) in 2018 than the prior year. In 2018, Green Fire administered Narcan 40 times during emergency calls versus 60 and 83 times in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

"Through the national attention directed to opioid addiction and collaborative efforts of our Summit County Task Force and the Green Drug Task Force, the message is getting through," said Gerard Neugebauer. "We are thankful that the numbers are going down and less families are seeing the impact of drug use and addiction.”

In January 2017, Green launched its Green Outreach (GO) team, a quick response team comprised of Green Fire Medics, Summit County Sherriff Deputies and social workers from the Orianna House visit homes in the City of Green within a week of an overdose to offer support, education and assistance.

The team quickly expanded their visits to include not only those who overdosed the prior week, but to anyone who had called for emergency service where drugs or alcohol were involved. In 2018, the Green Outreach Team visited 71 residents to offer support and help. Thirty-two of them responded favorably and actively sought treatment.

“I am exceedingly proud of our Green Outreach Team that visits homes of those impacted by drug or alcohol abuse to offer support and help to those in need and their families."


In addition to the Green Outreach Team, the Green Drug Task Force, an all-volunteer group formed in 2016, to educate the public, offer support to families in need, and prevent drug abuse in our community. The Drug Task Force meets every other month on the first Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Central Administration Building. The first 2019 meeting of the Drug Task Force is February 5. For more information, visit www.cityofgreen.org/drug-task-force.

Published in Local
Thursday, 25 August 2016 11:42

Day Four: ODH Show Hike In Overdoses

The Ohio Department of Health has released their Unintentional Drug Overdose report for 2015, revealing a sharp increase in the number of fenatanyl-related deaths since 2013.

We are certainly no stranger to fentanyl-related overdoses, as locally in Summit County the number of overdoses reported to local emergency rooms have skyrocketed this year, most notably in June and July. 

The Department of Health report indicates the number of fenatanyl-related deaths in the state rose more than doubled between 2014 and 2015. Meanwhile, overall drug overdose deaths rose from 2531 in 2014 to 3040 last year.

See the full report below: 

(Columbus, OH) - The number of unintentional drug overdose deaths in Ohio increased again in 2015, driven by a sharp rise in fentanyl-related deaths, according to a new report released by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The number of fentanyl-related deaths in Ohio has increased from 84 in 2013, to 503 in 2014 and rose to 1,155 in 2015. Overall, drug overdose deaths in Ohio increased from 2,531 in 2014 to 3,050 in 2015. 

The report also dramatically demonstrates the rapidly changing nature of the battle against drug abuse.  As the state has worked with physicians to curb prescription opiate abuse, the number of prescription opiate overdose deaths have begun to level off.

“Ohio was one of the first states to see the rise of fentanyl over the past couple of years, as the opiate epidemic continues to evolve to more powerful drugs,” said Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “We knew when we started this battle five years ago that progress wouldn’t be easy, but we are well prepared to stay on the leading edge of fighting this epidemic thanks to the multi-faceted strategies we have put into place.”

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic narcotic that is estimated to be 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin, and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The vast majority of fentanyl reports by law enforcement in drug seizures result from illegally produced and trafficked fentanyl, not diverted prescription fentanyl.


Last fall, Ohio requested assistance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help better understand the increase in fentanyl-related deaths. CDC issued a report that provided insight into fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Ohio, and also noted that “the state has launched a comprehensive response” to address the issue.

The use of naloxone, the opiate reversal drug, has been vital to saving lives and that is why Ohio has increased funding to purchase naloxone for first responders through local health departments. In 2015, Ohio EMS personnel administered 19,782 doses of naloxone – 7,207 more doses than in 2013. More than one dose of naloxone may have been administered to a single patient to reverse the opiate overdose.

A targeted campaign to raise awareness about the signs of a drug overdose was launched in May to urge family members and friends of people who use drugs to obtain naloxone to administer during an overdose while waiting on first-responders to arrive. The campaign focuses on 15 Ohio counties that accounted for 80 percent of the state’s fentanyl-related overdose deaths in 2014. 

“In the midst of this growing opiate epidemic, we are seeing positive indications that our aggressive efforts are working to reduce opioid prescription pain medications available for abuse,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Mary DiOrio “There were 81 million fewer opioid doses dispensed to Ohio patients since the state took initiatives to curb opiates, and the number of people who try to get controlled substances from multiple doctors has dramatically decreased. Also, the percentage of prescription opioid-related deaths compared to all unintentional overdose deaths declined in Ohio for the fourth straight year.”

DiOrio attributes the decline in the number of opiates dispensed to Ohio patients with efforts to reduce the prescription pill supply, increased law enforcement efforts, empowering prescribers and pharmacists to use Ohio’s prescription drug monitoring system, the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System, and working with medical professionals to establish opioid prescribing guidelines for healthcare professionals who treat chronic pain and acute pain.

“The state has been very aggressive in implementing new strategies to strengthen Ohio’s fight against opiates, but we are reminded today of the difficult road ahead as the epidemic evolves at a rapid pace,” said Andrea Boxill, the coordinator of the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team and deputy director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “In the face of the continued rise in drug overdoses, we believe that Ohio has one of the most comprehensive approaches in the nation to combatting opiate abuse and drug overdoses, and we will continue to evolve our efforts to address the changes that we are seeing in the drug market.”

A summary of the 2015 Ohio Drug Overdose Report is available here, and the full report is available here. A list of new strategies to combat the opiate epidemic, including fentanyl, is available here. A detailed list of Ohio’s past and ongoing efforts tackling the supply of drugs, preventing drug abuse before it starts, treating those who fall prey to drug addiction, and reversing drug overdoses with naloxone is available here.

Published in Local

17 overdoses and one death in one day have city and county officials reacting to Akron's heroin epidemic.

Akron mayor Dan Horrigan says the problem can't just be solved by arresting people.

"We must realize while our first responders continue to bear the brunt of this epidemic," Horrigan told reporters at a news conference at the Summit County Public Health Department, "this is long past moved into the public health crisis, and away from a public safety crisis that afflicts many communities across our state and across our country."

And Akron police chief James Nice, his department investigating what happened Tuesday and any link between the cases, says the epidemic will continue while the supply keeps coming in...which nothing that local police can stop...

"But as long as the supply is coming in so strong from Mexico, which the Akron Police Department is not able to do much from it coming into the country," Chief Nice says, "we're going to have problems with heroin as long as it coming into the country so easily."

The overdoses happened in the afternoon and evening hours in various parts of Akron.

A 44 year-old man died, and among those who survived were a mother and two adult daughters, who all overdosed at the same time.

Most survived thanks to the anti-heroin drug. Narcan, but police say that the heroin may have been laced with fentanyl...which is more resistant to Narcan.

As of early Wednesday afternoon, two more overdoses have been reported.

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