Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse: Statistics, Prevention, & Treatment

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Prescription drug abuse in Ohio remains a significant concern. Rates of substance use disorders among Ohio residents surpass the national average, including rates of prescription drug addiction. While treatment-seeking rates have increased in Ohio and across the United States, there is still much work needed to address this ongoing epidemic of Ohio prescription drug addiction and support those affected in our state.

Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics

Ohio state data show that 2020 was a year in which more people died of accidental drug overdoses in Ohio than ever before. 5017 people lost their lives to drug overdoses in that year, representing a 25% increase on 2019 rates.

Ohio prescription drug abuse played a part in these overdose deaths as follows:

  • Opioids: 415 overdose deaths (8%)
  • Benzos: 420 overdose deaths (8%)
  • Stimulants: 1,062 overdose deaths (21%)

Among fatal overdoses involving semi-synthetic opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone, 67% also involved fentanyl.

Despite the role of prescription drugs in the ongoing overdose epidemic in Ohio, fentanyl remains the primary driver, claiming 4,308 lives in the state in 2020, accounting for 86% of all deadly overdoses in Ohio.

Fortunately, total opioid doses decreased by 55% from 2012 (793 million) to 2020 (357 million). The overall number of opioid prescriptions also decreased by 52% in the same timeframe.

Benzodiazepine prescriptions in Ohio also reduced from 297 million in 2012 to 171 million in 2020, translating to a 39% decline.

Regrettably, rates of stimulants prescribed in Ohio continues to rise, as evidenced by the fact they play a role in one in five fatal overdoses in the state.

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How Does Ohio Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse?

Ohio has been at the forefront of combating prescription drug abuse under the leadership of the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team for more than a decade. With an investment of over $1 billion annually, Ohio has been implementing comprehensive strategies since 2011. Here’s an overview of these initiatives:

  • Reducing the pill supply: The state prioritized shutting down pill mills to curb the diversion and illicit sale of prescription opioids, effectively reducing their availability on the streets.
  • Stepping up enforcement: The State Highway Patrol intensified efforts to intercept drugs crossing state borders, leading to record-breaking drug seizures over five consecutive years.
  • Establishing opioid prescribing guidelines: Ohio developed prescribing guidelines for emergency departments and healthcare professionals, promoting responsible opioid use, reducing leftover medications, and encouraging non-opioid therapies.
  • Empowering pharmacists and prescribers: Ohio’s prescription drug monitoring system saw a significant increase in usage, with over 88 million reports requested in 2017. As a result, opioid doses dispensed to patients decreased, and instances of doctor shopping significantly declined.
  • New regulations for drug wholesalers: Clear guidelines were established for wholesalers, enhancing their role in identifying and reporting drug supply chain issues to regulatory authorities.
  • Reducing prescription opioid dependence among injured workers: The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation implemented measures to reduce opioid dependence, including the formation of a medication policy panel, the development of a drug formulary, and enforcing best practices among prescribers.

Through these comprehensive efforts, Ohio aims to mitigate the devastating effects of prescription drug abuse and addiction, safeguard public health, and save lives.

Prescription Drug Abuse Resources in Ohio

There are many prescription drug abuse resources available to residents of Ohio. These include:

  • Call the state helpline at 1-877-275-6364.
  • For immediate danger or drug overdose, call 911.
  •  If you or someone you care about struggles with pain medication addiction or any substance abuse issue, help is available. For treatment referrals, go here.
  • For mental health crises or support, you can text 4hope to 741741, and a trained crisis counselor will respond within five minutes to assist you confidentially.

Addiction support groups available in Ohio include:

  • Narcotics Anonymous: Find meetings for Narcotics Anonymous, a 12-step program aiding drug addiction recovery by searching online.
  • Nar-Anon: Locate meetings for Nar-Anon, offering support for family and friends of those with substance use disorder by conducting an online search or consulting your healthcare provider.
  • Prevention Action Alliance GAP Network: Access information, education, advocacy, and support for individuals affected by overdose or working to recover from addiction just here.

Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction in Ohio

Here are some common methods used in treating individuals struggling with prescription drug abuse:

  • Medical detoxification: This is often the first step in treating prescription drug abuse. Discontinuing use under medical supervision with a gradual reduction in dosage can minimize withdrawal symptoms and ensure safety throughout the process. While detox addresses the issue of physical dependence, ongoing treatment is required to unpack the psychological component of addiction to prescription medications.
  • Behavioral therapies: Various forms of behavioral therapy, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), contingency management, and motivational interviewing, are effective in addressing the psychological aspects of prescription drug addiction. These therapies help people recognize and change destructive patterns of thinking and behavior associated with drug abuse.
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment: MAT blends medications with talk therapies and counseling to treat addictions. For prescription drug abuse, medications like buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone may be used to manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Support groups: Participating in support groups such as NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or SMART Recovery can provide people with a supportive network of peers who understand their struggles and can offer encouragement and guidance.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment: Many people struggling with prescription drug abuse also have co-occurring mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Dual diagnosis treatment addresses both substance abuse and mental health disorders simultaneously for more effective outcomes.
  • Family therapy: Involving family members in the treatment process can help improve communication, rebuild trust, and strengthen support systems, all of which are beneficial for long-term recovery.
  • Lifestyle changes: Encouraging healthy lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, proper nutrition, stress management techniques, and engaging in meaningful activities can support recovery and promote overall well-being.
  • Aftercare planning: Developing a relapse prevention plan and connecting individuals with ongoing support services, such as sober living environments, outpatient therapy, and community resources, helps in maintaining long-term sobriety.
  • Continued monitoring and support: Recovery from prescription drug abuse is a lifelong journey, and ongoing monitoring and support from healthcare professionals, therapists, and support groups are essential for preventing relapse and promoting sustained recovery.

The most effective treatment approach may vary depending on individual needs, the type of prescription drug abused, and other factors. A tailored treatment plan developed in collaboration with healthcare professionals is often the most successful in addressing prescription drug abuse and supporting long-term recovery.

ohio recovery centers facility from curb view, representing Ohio prescription drug abuse

Get Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse at Ohio Recovery Centers

If you need immediate assistance addressing prescription drug addiction, reach out to Ohio Recovery Centers right away. All addictions are progressive conditions, so the sooner you seek help, the more straightforward your recovery will be.

We treat prescription drug abuse in an outpatient setting at our facility in Cincinnati, Ohio. This enables you to meet your everyday obligations while engaging with evidence-based addiction treatment during weekday therapy sessions.

All addictions are unique, so all Ohio Recovery Centers treatment programs reflect this by offering personalized treatment plans that blend medication-assisted treatment and psychotherapy with holistic therapies and aftercare to promote long-term and whole-body recovery.

Call 877-679-2132 for immediate assistance.

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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