Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
A new Ohio State University (OSU) study found that the opioid epidemic costs Ohio between $6.6 billion to $8.8 billion a year—about the same amount the state spends annually on K-12 education (Source: “Price Tag of Ohio’s Opioid Epidemic: Up to $8.8 Billion a Year,” The Columbus Dispatch, October 26, 2017).
According to the OSU report that was released on October 25, the state has had success cracking down on opioid prescriptions. However, many addicts have switched to street drugs such as heroin, making expanded access to treatment the more pressing need.
And though treatment needs have skyrocketed, the state has not responded. Ohio has the capacity to treat only 20% to 40% of the 92,000 to 170,000 Ohioans abusing or addicted to opioids. The shortage is especially acute in rural areas hit hardest by the drug crisis.
Ohio is among the nation’s leaders in opioid-related overdose deaths, with a record 4,050 fatalities in 2016, a 33% increase from 2015.