Ohio Governor John Kasich is back on the airwaves again this week, using his usual trademark rhetoric to warn the public about the opioid crisis that is sweeping the state.
In an ad aired Monday, Kasich said: ‘Ohioans are sick and tired of the opioid epidemic.
And if you’re one of them, it’s time to call your senator and tell them to do something about it.
‘It’s time for the Ohio legislature to pass a law that gives people an opportunity to take the drug they need to stay alive, to treat addiction, to get the treatment they need.’
The governor has repeatedly claimed that the opioid problem is in large part due to overprescription of prescription opioids.
Kasich has made it clear that the problem will not be solved by a single government intervention.
But in a state that has seen a number of high-profile cases of fatal overdoses, the ad’s claims of prescription drug abuse are hard to dispute.
And they are likely to be repeated by Kasich and other GOP governors across the country in coming weeks, which could further worsen the opioid issue.
For decades, Ohio has been one of the states with the highest rate of opioid prescriptions, with nearly one-quarter of all adults in the state taking prescription painkillers.
Since 2014, Ohioans have seen a staggering 50% increase in prescription drug overdose deaths.
But the problem has gotten much worse in recent years.
In the same period, the number of overdose deaths in Ohio has nearly tripled.
Ohio’s opioid overdose death rate was 10.6 per 100,000 people in 2016, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of people overdosing on opioid drugs increased by more than 50% between 2013 and 2015, and the number that died has more than doubled.
According to data compiled by the Center for Disease Dynamics and Prevention, the opioid drug overdose death toll in Ohio peaked in 2012, when nearly 9,000 Ohioans died of overdoses.
Ohio has experienced an alarming increase in the number and severity of overdose fatalities in recent months, and Ohioans are now facing a crisis that has the potential to make the state the number one heroin and fentanyl-producing state in the nation.
A recent analysis of the Centers For Disease Control data by the advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance found that more than 8,300 Ohioans die every day from an opioid overdose, and a significant number of those deaths are attributed to the use of opioids.
Drug policy experts have pointed out that opioids are not just a public health issue, but a public safety issue, because they have been linked to a range of harmful effects, including respiratory depression, death, addiction, violence and the inability to get medical care.
“Ohioans have been dying of overdoses at a record rate,” said Amy Biederman, a co-founder of Drug Policy Action, a national organization dedicated to the fight against drug abuse.
“We’re seeing it in our state and across the nation.”
Kasich’s latest attack on the opioid situation comes as the state has struggled to find its footing in the opioid and heroin epidemic.
The Ohio Department of Health has acknowledged that there has been a “significant spike” in the use and abuse of prescription pain pills, with prescription drug prescriptions in Ohio reaching an all-time high of nearly 14.4 million in 2016.
However, there is little evidence to suggest that Ohioans’ dependence on these pills is tied to their use of prescription drugs.
According of the state’s most recent data, prescriptions for oxycodone, the drug that contains the opioid fentanyl, increased from nearly 8.5 million in 2014 to 10.7 million in 2015.
The drug also has been blamed for causing many more deaths than heroin, but Ohioans seem to be getting the message that it is not a heroin or a fentanyl problem.
Ohioans should not be getting this information from the governor of their state.
And the state is in no position to act if it does not want to be seen as a leader in the fight to end this crisis.
While Ohio has seen some progress in addressing the opioid addiction crisis, it has been lagging behind many other states in combating the heroin and opioid abuse crisis.
Last year, the state experienced a record number of heroin overdose deaths, according a report from the state Department of Public Health.
That’s according to a statewide monitoring network created by the Ohio Health Alliance to monitor drug overdose and related deaths and injuries.
Nationwide, about 10.4 people die from heroin overdoses each day.
But Ohio has a high death rate for opioids.
Ohio had more than 17,000 opioid-related deaths in 2016 — the second highest total in the country behind Florida.
Nationwide and in Ohio, the vast majority of those opioid deaths are suicides, according the National Center for Health Statistics.
A study from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, published in October, found that Ohio had the most opioid-involved population in the United States in the early