Drug Abuse Statistics in Columbus Ohio

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As the state capital and the most populous city in Ohio, Columbus has been heavily implicated in the opioid epidemic that has enveloped all U.S. states since the late 1990s.

Ohio continues to face high rates of overdose deaths and also has rates of drug addiction that significantly exceed the national average. While more people than ever are engaging with evidence-based addiction treatment, statistics on drug abuse in Columbus, Ohio, show that the battle is ongoing and arguably worsening.

What Are the Addiction Statistics for Columbus Ohio?

Drug abuse statistics in Columbus, Ohio indicate the widespread abuse of the following substances:

  • Prescription opioids: The opioid crisis remains a pressing concern in Columbus, Ohio. Despite statewide efforts to combat the abuse of opioid painkillers, many people continue to develop dependence and addiction.
  • Heroin: As part of the broader opioid epidemic, heroin is one of the most addictive drugs in the area, contributing significantly to the city’s overdose statistics.
  • Fentanyl: Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid that’s 50 times stronger than heroin and responsible for a growing number of lethal overdoses in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Cocaine: Cocaine use is widespread in Columbus.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol abuse remains a persistent problem, contributing to the city’s overall substance use disorder statistics.
  • Marijuana: Marijuana is also commonly abused by a wide range of demographics in Columbus, OH.

Between 2017 and 2019, Ohio experienced an annual average prevalence of 15.5% (equating to 187,000 people) for past-year substance use disorder (addiction). This rate slightly surpasses the national average.

In the same timeframe, Ohio reported an annual average prevalence of 7.7% (or 757,000 people) for past-year substance use disorder, closely matching the national average.

On a single day in March 2019, among Ohio residents seeking substance use treatment, 49% were there for drug-related issues only, 15% sought help for alcohol-related problems exclusively, and 36% received treatment for both alcohol and drug use disorders.

Beyond this, from 2017 to 2019, the state of Ohio observed an annual average prevalence of 1.4% (or 142,000 individuals) for opioid use disorder in the past year. This figure is double the national average.

an image of Columbus, Ohio, representing statistics on drug use in columbus ohio

Opioid Crisis in Columbus Ohio

Columbus, Ohio, is addressing the opioid crisis with an approach that focuses on emergency services, data-driven policies, and community support.

  • For individuals facing a mental health or substance abuse emergency, Columbus, Ohio offers immediate assistance through hotlines and crisis lines.
  • The city is actively engaged in strategizing and implementing policies to tackle the epidemic.
  • Updated overdose treatment, outcomes, and prevention data in Columbus and Franklin County is available to guide these efforts.
  • Data dashboards reporting on substance use and overdose measures inform institutions and the general public.
  • Collaborative approaches are being developed to serve those who have recently overdosed on opioids, indicating a community-driven response to the crisis.
  • Ohio State has secured significant federal funding to support communities in fighting opioid addiction and preventing overdose deaths.

Overdose Statistics in Columbus Ohio

Columbus, comprising nearly 90% of Franklin County’s area, witnessed 825 accidental overdose deaths in 2021. This figure represents a slight 4% reduction from the previous year but is a sharp 48% rise from the drug use statistics in Columbus, Ohio, in 2019, illustrating the profound impact of the pandemic and the associated economic downturn on the residents of Columbus. Although there has been some stabilization, the current overdose death toll is still over twice as high as it was five years ago.

In these incidents, about 36% were attributed to a single substance, while close to 40% were the result of mixing two different substances. Especially concerning is the dominant presence of opioids in these fatalities. In 2021, opioids – especially the synthetic opioid fentanyl – were involved in 89% of all overdose deaths, with cocaine present in 43%, amphetamines in 18%, and alcohol also in 18%.

Statewide, Ohio reported 5,174 accidental drug overdose deaths in 2021. Columbus’s fatalities may seem minor in comparison, yet, relative to its population, the city accounted for nearly 7.7% of Ohio’s population but 15.7% of its overdose deaths.

Fentanyl is by many magnitudes the most lethal substance of abuse in Columbus, involved in almost 90% of overdose deaths, often in combination with other substances.

How to Get Help for Addiction in Ohio

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction in Ohio, there are numerous resources and support systems available to help.

  • Contact local health departments: Many Ohio counties have health departments that offer resources for substance abuse treatment and recovery. They can provide information on local rehab facilities, support groups, and counseling services.
  • Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services: This state department offers a comprehensive list of services, including hotlines, treatment facility locators, and information on understanding addiction and how to seek help.
  • SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration): The SAMHSA National Helpline (1-800-662-HELP) is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members battling addictions or mental health disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
  • Netcare Access crisis hotline: For immediate crisis intervention, the Netcare Access Crisis Hotline (614-276-CARE) in Columbus offers 24/7 support to individuals experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis.
  • Community support groups: Organizations such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous), and SMART Recovery host meetings throughout Ohio, providing peer support and guidance for those in recovery.
  • Seek professional help: Addiction counselors and therapists can offer personalized care and treatment plans to address both substance use and underlying mental health issues.
  • Educational resources: Many Ohio institutions and organizations provide educational material and programs to help individuals and families understand the complexities of addiction and the best practices for treatment and recovery.

Here’s how you can connect with compassionate and effective addiction treatment in Ohio.

ohio recovery centers facility from curb view, representing drug use statistics in columbus ohio

Get Help for Drug & Alcohol Addiction at Ohio Recovery Centers

When you commit to recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism at Ohio Recovery Centers, you’ll benefit from an inclusive addiction support community. This can help you achieve and maintain long-term abstinence from addictive substances.

The outpatient nature of treatment at our rehab in Cincinnati, OH, allows you to fulfill your everyday commitments without compromising your recovery. All addictions are unique, so all of our treatment programs deliver personalized and targeted treatments. This may include medication-assisted treatment, psychotherapy, counseling, and holistic interventions.

Call 877-679-2132 today and begin your recovery right away.

Table of Contents

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn