COLUMBUS –The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has released a new report analyzing the 2018 unintentional drug overdose deaths. ODH analyzed deaths by county size and type based on classifications developed by the National Center for Health Statistics to classify counties from the most urban to the most rural.
Key findings from this analysis include:
- In 2018, 3,764 Ohioans died from unintentional drug overdoses. The number and rate of unintentional drug overdose deaths varied considerably by demographic factors, including county/region of residence.
- While large central metro counties had the highest number of unintentional drug overdose deaths, small metro counties had the highest rate of unintentional drug overdose deaths. An overdose death rate refers to the number of overdose deaths per 100,000 population.
- All county groupings saw decreases in the number of unintentional drug overdose deaths with the exception of mostly rural noncore* counties, which had a slight increase in deaths.
- Illicit fentanyl was involved in the majority of overdose deaths among all county groupings, ranging from 78.8% in large central metro counties to 53.4% in noncore counties.
- When considering combinations of fentanyl and other drug categories, the combination of fentanyl and cocaine was involved in the highest percentage of deaths for all county groupings with the exception of micropolitan* and noncore counties. For micropolitan and noncore counties, the combinations of fentanyl and psychostimulants (e.g. methamphetamines) and fentanyl and heroin had the highest percentage of deaths.
Information and resources on where to get help for a substance use disorder are available at RecoveryOhio.gov.
NOTE TO NEWS MEDIA –A copy of ODH’s full 2018 Ohio Drug Overdose Data: Geographic Summary is available here. More information about Governor DeWine’s RecoveryOhio initiative is available here. Preliminary 2019 Ohio drug overdose death data is available in the Ohio Public Health Data Warehouse on the ODH website here.
* The six classification levels for counties were 1) large central metro: part of a metropolitan statistical area with ≥1 million population and covers a principal city; 2) large fringe metro: part of a metropolitan statistical area with ≥1 million population but does not cover a principal city; 3) medium metro: part of a metropolitan statistical area with ≥250,000 but <1 million population; 4) small metro: part of a metropolitan statistical area with <250,000 population; 5) micropolitan (nonmetro): part of a micropolitan statistical area (has an urban cluster of ≥10,000 but <50,000 population); and 6) noncore (nonmetro): not part of a metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area.