Ohio hasn’t had a weekly increase since August 2023

Overdose death on track to drop 50% in early 2024

This chart shows how quickly and dramatically overdose deaths have declined in Ohio. Our state last recorded a year-over-year increase in mid-August. Since then, every week of 2023 had few overdose deaths than the same week in 2022. The last week of the year had the biggest drop — 56 fewer overdose deaths in the last year of 2023 than in the last year of 2022.

Overdose deaths appear to have declined even more in early 2024 — as much as 50% fewer deaths in January and February, 2025 vs. the same months in 2023. (Death reporting is incomplete, so the early reporting for the start of 2024 may need to be revised.)

The big drop now underway in Ohio overdose death rates wasn’t predicted by anyone. The reason for the decline appears to have nothing to do with anything we did in Ohio and everything to do with changed Sinaloa cartel business practices in Mexico. Specifically, one key branch of the Sinaloa cartel — the one run by El Chapo’s family — stopped producing and exporting fentanyl. A couple of months later, the effect of this decision was seen in Ohio: fentanyl’s presence in Ohio’s drug supply declined, accompanied by a drop in overdose deaths.

It’s sad but true that a brutal cartel family — currently controlled by three of El Chapo’s sons — has more influence over Ohio overdose death counts than do our federal, state and local governments, not to mention treatment providers and non-profits such as Harm Reduction Ohio. The drug war creates perverse incentives that lead to catastrophic results.


Source: Ohio Department of Health Mortality Data

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