CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Ohio is at the epicenter of an overdose epidemic. The feds call Ohio "Ground Zero" for heroin and other opiates. Ohio is losing big time when it comes to deadly drug overdoses. In fact, the state leads the nation, beating out even California and New York.
"I'm not surprised given the number of deaths we have locally here in Cuyahoga County," said Bill Denihan, CEO of the county's Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board.
The numbers are sobering. As of Nov. 7, there have been 413 overdose deaths. Denihan revealed that's 286 more than at this time in 2015. Cuyahoga County averages 50 deaths a month.
"Hopefully, that can help us remedy our lack of capacity in terms of beds and detox," he said.
From this latest stat, it's plain to see that the Buckeye State is the heart and soul of this often fatal epidemic. Ohio is No. 1 in three deadly categories.
The Kaiser Family Foundation said we lead the nation in opioid overdose deaths. Ohio has the country's most deaths related to heroin, with one in 9; and the Buckeye State also recorded the most deaths from synthetic opioids.
"That's frightening and we've got to stop and understand that this is the number one killer. In my book it's an emergency," Denihan said. "We need to have a public relations campaign constantly on the air telling folks, no. Don't use it."
Denihan said too many people can't get the timely help they need.
"If they go there with a broken arm we don't tell them to come back in a couple of weeks. They take care it."
Ohio is the only state to actually negotiate a price freeze on naloxone nasal spray which can limit or stop the effects of an opioid overdose. It has been frozen through 2017 at around $75 for 2 4mg doses.
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