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Drug Overdose Deaths on Rise

A stark reminder on the dangers of opioid abuse came last week when Ohio Attorney General David Yost released a report that shows the state’s death rate from opioid overdoses at 11.01 deaths per 100,000 population in the second quarter of 2020. That’s the highest rate in the last decade.

Topping the list was Scioto County, in the southern part of the state, where the rate was 35.2 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Counties in our region are continuing to be affected by opioids. Harrison County’s 12.61 deaths per 100,000 in the quarter topped our region, with Jefferson County coming in at 7.17 deaths, Columbiana County at 6.49 deaths and Belmont County at 4.26 deaths.

The report compiled by the attorney general’s Scientific Committee on Opioid Prevention and Education came on the same day that Yost and a coalition of attorneys general from other states joined West Virginia’s Patrick Morrisey and New Mexico’s Hector Balderas in puhing federal regulators to examine their progress in the fight against opioid abuse.

Specifically, the group, which includes Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, is looking for an update on how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is administering the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention Act and what its future plans are.

Among its provisions, the act calls for safer opioid packaging and new guidelines for prescribing opioids.

Yost and Morrisey have never wavered from their commitment to fight addiction and opioid abuse. Their vigilance is appreciated and, sadly, needed as the epidemic continues to exact an unacceptable toll in lives lost, families destroyed and communities ravaged.

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