COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine ordered Ohio’s flags to be flown at half-staff Wednesday to honor those who have died of a drug overdose.
The mandate that Ohio’s public buildings and grounds fly U.S. and State of Ohio flags at half-staff from sunrise until sunset coincides with the state’s annual recognition of Ohio Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, approved when DeWine signed Senate Bill 30 into law in June 2021, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
“Ohio Overdose Awareness Day is an opportunity for all Ohioans to remember loved ones lost to an overdose and recognize those who have a substance use disorder and are working toward recovery,” DeWine said in the release.
In Franklin County alone, 825 people died from a drug overdose in 2021, according to an annual report from the county coroner’s office. That’s a 52% jump in the county’s drug-related deaths since 2017.
Fentanyl and cocaine-related overdoses accounted for the greatest number of fatalities, with fentanyl-related deaths increasing by 3% since 2020.
“Franklin County experienced a significant number of overdose deaths for yet another year,” the coroner’s report said. “During the past few years, the county has seen a dramatic increase in overdose deaths, which mirrors what is seen in several other counties across the United States.”
DeWine said several state agencies collaborated to launch a new website designed to boost access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, commonly called Narcan.