Deaths of cocaine and meth users increasingly drive overdose death
Heroin and fentanyl-only deaths decline
The Ohio Department of Health mortality data report 4,353 confirmed overdose deaths reported so far for 2022. That’s a 5.6% decline from what was reported as of February 17 for 2021 and a 5.0% decline from 2020.
About 10% of 2022 overdose deaths have yet to be reported. Ohio’s final overdose death count was 5,174 in 2021 and 5,017 in 2020. When the 2022 death toll is finalized late this summer, the number of Ohio residents who died from drug overdoses in 2022 will be about 4,900. That will be the third highest death toll ever, behind the record years of 2020 and 2020, and far higher than the 1,914 deaths that occurred in 2012.
Overdose death trends in 2022:
- Fentanyl was involved in 80.5% of overdose deaths in 2022, up slightly from 80.0% in 2021.
- Cocaine was involved in 32.4% of overdose deaths in 2022 vs. 29.1% in 2021. Eighty-two percent of cocaine-related deaths in 2022 also involved fentanyl.
- Meth was involved in 27.6% of overdose deaths in 2022 vs. 25.9% in 2021. Eighty-one percent of meth-related deaths in 2022 also involved fentanyl.
- Heroin was involved in just 1.7% of overdose deaths in 2022, down from 3.1% in 2021 and 46.7% in 2015. Eighty-six percent of heroin-related deaths in 2022 also involved fentanyl.
- Benzos was involved in 7.1% of overdose deaths in 2022, down from 8.3% in 2021. Seventy-four percent of benzo-related deaths in 2022 also involved heroin.
- Fentanyl-only deaths — that is, fentanyl but not cocaine, meth, heroin or benzos — accounted for 32.7% of overdose deaths in 2022, down from 35.3% in 2021.
In big picture, Ohio’s overdose epidemic continues to become more and more stimulant driven. Cocaine and meth users are being killed by fentanyl and its analogs.
The decline in death from drugs containing only fentanyl — not cocaine, meth, heroin or benzos — may explain why overdose deaths have fallen slightly. Of people buy and use drugs believed to be cocaine, meth or benzos but, in fact, contain only fentanyl. A drop in fentanyl-only deaths points to a decline in fentanyl-only drugs in the marketplace, a trend supported by analysis of drugs seized by law enforcement and tested at state crime labs.