COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — While Columbus’ opioid epidemic is still far from over, a slight drop in overdose deaths is a welcome sign for health officials.
For the first time in seven years, data from Columbus Public Health shows a decline in opioid-related deaths here in Columbus. With a recorded 804 opioid deaths in 2020, compared to 788 in 2021. However, health officials say more needs to be done.
Based on population, Ohio ranks as the fourth highest in its drug overdose death rate in the country, with one in thirteen Ohioans living with addiction. “Because treatment can be expensive, but we don’t want that to be a barrier to recovery,” said Dan Orzano, manager of outreach and education for Ohio Division of Securities.
It’s what led to programs such as Recovery Within Reach, a statewide initiative from the Ohio Department of Commerce, to connect financial advisers with those in recovery, in order to provide them with an affordable treatment plan.
“The whole issue of addiction is there’s a stigma to it for a lot of people, and you have to kind of get past that, because ultimately what we want people to do, is we want them to find treatment, we want them to seek recovery. But at the same time, we don’t want them spending everything they have in their savings, or their retirement plan to do that,” said Orzano.
Orzano said they’ve also created an online locator, that allows people to find nearby treatment facilities, that will fit into their budget. “Does the facility take Medicaid?” said Orzano. “Do they take private insurance? What are some of the treatment offerings, do they have in person, do they have outpatient? So you can select a number of different things and find the facility that works best.”
If you’d like to learn more about Recovery Within Reach, and the resources it provides, click here.