Montgomery County experienced 162 deaths from drug overdoses in 2012, the highest number on record.
“It’s a number that should concern all of us,” said Montgomery County Health Commissioner Jim Gross, at a press conference Tuesday where the 2012 Poisoning Death Review report was released.
Cancer and heart disease were the leading causes of death in Montgomery County, followed by accidental death, which includes drug overdoses, Gross said. The findings of the death review are based on an analysis of data from the Montgomery Coroner’s Office by the Center for Interventions, Treatment & Addictions Research in the Department of Community Health at Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine.
The analysis found that of the 162 fatal poisoning cases autopsied during 2012, toxicology reports identified heroin in 95 of the cases, or 59 percent of the time.
The 2012 data reveals “remarkable and significant decreases” in unintentional drug overdose deaths involving prescription opiates such as Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycontin and tranquillizers like Xanax and Klonopin, with a dramatic shift toward heroin, said Russell Falck, associate director of the Center for Intervention, Treatment & Addictions Research in the Department of Community Health at the Boonshoft School of Medicine.
Of the 162 overdose deaths autopsied by Montgomery County last year, 145 were county residents; five were from Greene County; two each from Miami, Clark, and Preble counties and one each from Darke, Hamilton, Wood and Highland counties. Two were out-of state residents.
As in previous years, a majority of the people who died were white males with a high school eduction or less.
“We autopsy one overdose per day from the surrounding communities including Montgomery County,” Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office and the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab said. “This impacts mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers… .”
Gross, Betz and Falck also used the press conference to launch a public awareness campaign on the best weay to prevent a fatal overdose..
The poster also lists the CrisisCare hotline, 224-4646, to call for help.
State and county mental health officials also held a press conference Tuesday in Columbus to push for the legislature to expand Medicaid eligibility, which would bring health care to an estimated 275,000 uninsured Ohioans.
Kent Youngman, CEO of the Mental Health and Recovery Board for Clark, Greene and Madison counties, said Medicaid expansion would help make up for some of the $140 million in state cuts in behavior health treatment statewide since 2002. Addicts without healthcare frequently end up clogging the criminal justice system and seeking medical treatment in emergency rooms, he said.
“I think our legislators view (Medicaid expansion) as an economic liability. But the costs are already there,”
Montgomery County Accidental Drug Overdose Death Rates per 100,000 by Zip Code
2010-2012 average death rate community zip code
80.52 Old North Dayton 45404
73.13 East Dayton 45410
69.21 East Dayton 45403
36.57 West Carrollton 45449
31.83 South Dayton 45429
The Dayton Daily News has reported in-depth on overdose drug deaths in the region, including from prescription and illegal drugs like heroin, and on how the community is combating the problem.