The drug epidemic in the United States has caused Ohio to face numerous challenges. In 2020, the state registered 5,215 fatalities, the second-highest number of drug overdose deaths in the country, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, drug-related problems affect certain regions of Ohio more heavily than others.
The Worst City for Drug Use in Ohio
According to a recent study by American Addiction Centers, a leading provider of addiction treatment services, Omaha in Ohio has been identified as the city most affected by drug use. The study analyzed 51 metropolitan areas in the United States and evaluated the percentage of residents who had experimented with drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. To determine the severity and potential harm of each drug, the study assigned a weighted score to them.
According to recent studies, Omaha has the highest percentage of marijuana use in the entire United States. Shockingly, over 60% of the city’s population has experimented with the drug at least once. Additionally, Omaha shares the highest rate of heroin use with Indianapolis, with 3.4% of its residents having used this highly addictive drug. The city has also witnessed significant levels of cocaine and methamphetamine use, ranking third and fourth, respectively, among the cities examined.
According to the extensive assessment, drug use has hit Omaha the hardest among all cities in the US. A close second is shared by Wichita, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Mesa, which all have equal levels of drug use.
The Worst County for Drug Overdose in Ohio
By analyzing drug overdose death rates by county, we can better understand the extent of the drug problem in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Health’s data reveals that Scioto County had the highest overdose death rate in the state in 2020, with 130.1 deaths per 100,000 residents. This is the highest overdose death rate ever recorded in Ohio, highlighting the severity of the issue.
Portsmouth, a city located in Scioto County, has been labeled the “pill mill of America” by public health experts. Despite being an industrially prosperous town in the past, Portsmouth has suffered from economic decline and social deterioration in recent years.
The area transformed into a central location for the misuse of prescription opioids, as well as the illegal distribution of heroin and fentanyl. A large number of individuals residing in the vicinity fell prey to addiction to painkillers and other substances, resulting in alarming rates of overdoses and fatalities.
Montgomery County came in second place following Scioto County, with a rate of 93.8 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2020. The opioid epidemic has severely affected Dayton, a city within Montgomery County, and in 2016, it had the highest overdose death rate among major U.S. cities.
Over the years, Dayton has taken several measures to tackle the opioid crisis. For instance, the city has increased the availability of naloxone, a medication that can effectively reverse opioid overdoses. Additionally, a community-based response team has also been established to offer assistance and referrals to those who have suffered from overdoses.
Factors That Influence Drug Problems in Ohio
Drug problems are prevalent in different cities and counties in Ohio due to several factors, including:
- Socioeconomic Status: Poverty, unemployment, low educational attainment, and limited opportunities can increase the vulnerability of individuals and communities to drug use and addiction.
- Availability and Accessibility: The presence and supply of drugs in an area can significantly impact drug use and overdose rates, with some areas having more sources and dealers, making substances more available and accessible.
- Prevention and Treatment: The availability and quality of prevention and treatment services can influence the level of drug use and overdose. Areas with more resources and programs to prevent drug abuse and address addiction may experience lower rates of drug-related issues.
- Enforcement and Regulation: The level and effectiveness of law enforcement and drug regulation can also impact drug use and overdose rates. Areas with stricter and more consistent policies and practices may see reduced drug-related crimes and better control over legal drug distribution.
Ohio is facing a serious problem of drug abuse in many of its cities and counties. The gravity of the situation, however, differs based on various factors and indicators. According to recent studies and data, Omaha is the most affected city in Ohio, with high rates of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine use.
Ohio’s Scioto County has the highest rate of fatal overdoses involving opioids and other drugs, making it a critical area that demands immediate attention and intervention from public health authorities and other stakeholders. The drug issues in this region have severe consequences, and it is essential to take appropriate measures to address them effectively.
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