Deaths fell most in early 2022…

…then increased late in year


Overdose deaths declined about 5% in 2022 vs. 2021, according to a Harm Reduction Ohio analysis of preliminary Ohio Department of Health mortality data. The final overdose death count for 2022 won’t be available until late 2023. However, 4,746 deaths have been confirmed and reported so far in Ohio for 2022 vs. 5,003 reported at this same time in 2021. That’s a 5.1% decline.

The preliminary death data show that overdose death fell in the first five months of 2022, leveled off, then appear to have increased in the last three months of the year.

The final count for accidental overdose drug deaths of Ohio residents in 2021 was 5,173, the most ever. When the final death toll is in for 2022, the number of overdose deaths is likely to be about 4,900. Overdose deaths appear to have continued to increase in early 2023, although it can’t be known for sure because the data set is small and preliminary.

Twelve counties, mostly in south central Ohio, have already set or tied in 2022 their record for most overdoses in a year, even though about 3% of data has yet to be reported. The record-setting counties are: Adams, Allen, Highland, Jefferson, Meigs, Paulding, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Stark, Vinton and Washington.

These accidental overdose deaths are preventable. The drug war has polluted the drug supply, causing mass death among people who use drugs, the population that criminalization was supposedly designed to protect.

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