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Drug Overdose
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The Violence and Injury Prevention Section is funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement prevention programs to reduce overdose-related fatalities. 

  • In 2007, unintentional drug poisoning became the leading cause of injury death in Ohio, surpassing motor vehicle crashes for the first time on record. This trend has continued through 2017. 
  • From 2000 to 2017, Ohio’s death rate due to unintentional drug poisonings increased 1,081 percent,and the increase in deaths has been driven largely by opioid-related overdoses.
  • In Ohio, there were 411 fatal, unintentional drug overdoses in the year 2000, growing to 4,854 deaths in 2017.

For the latest Ohio drug overdose report, click here. For past Ohio drug overdose reports, click here.

Drug Overdose Resources

Background on Fentanyl

Community Action Guide to Address Opioid Abuse

Community Response Plan Template for Rapid Increase in Drug Overdoses

What is the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) doing to address the issue?


The Ohio Overdose Prevention Network (formerly known as PDAAG), coordinated by ODH, is an ongoing, multi-disciplinary work group devoted to reducing prescription drug abuse and overdose. The Ohio OPN serves as a point-of-contact for sharing information and resources regarding prescription drug abuse across the state. The Ohio OPN developed recommendations  in 2010 that provided the basis for the Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force (OPDATF)'s work.  were incorporated into Ohio House Bill 93 which became state law in May of 2011. The Ohio OPN is currently working on strategies to expand access to naloxone distribution programs across the state, facilitate use of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) in health care settings, promote the adoption of opioid prescribing guidelines and increase education of health care professionals on these topics. The Ohio OPN welcomes new members. Learn more about Ohio OPN by clicking here. 

The Governor's Cabinet Opiate Action Team (GCOAT) was created by Governor John Kasich in response to Ohio's growing epidemic of drug overdose deaths. The GCOAT was comprised of several state agencies that worked together to combat opiate abuse by making a difference in each of their respective areas of influence. ODH is one of these collaborating agencies. The GCOAT produced several documents to assist in combating the Opioid Epidemic which are linked below.

In January, Governor Dewine signed an executive order creating the RecoveryOhio Advisory Council. The council is composed of leaders from across the state with diverse personal and professional backgrounds, who are working together to enhance our understanding of this crisis and how it impacts all sectors of society. The RecoveryOhio Advisory Council was tasked with providing actionable recommendations to improve mental health and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery support services in Ohio. Those recommendations are included in a report released in March 2019. Click here to access the report.

GCOAT Resources: 


Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

ODH provides support for the Governor's Cabinet Opiate Action Team (GCOAT), Prescriber Education Work Group including development of opioid prescribing guidelines which include:

Evaluations of Prescribing Guidelines

Evaluation of the Implementation of the Ohio Emergency and Acute Care Facility Opioids and Other Controlled Substances (OOCS) Prescribing Guidelines, December 2016

Ohio Opioid Prescription Guideline Evaluation: Second Quarterly Report, December 2014


Local Community Projects

Prescription drug overdose prevention projects are funded by the Violence and Injury Prevention Section (VIPS) through the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These projects are funded to implement comprehensive community-based efforts to address prescription drug abuse and overdose through: coalition development, community needs assessment and evaluation, formation of an overdose fatality review and development of policy, systems and environmental change strategies to address the issue. Examples of funded strategies include:

  • Expanding access to naloxone distribution programs such as Project DAWN and/or promotion of naloxone co-prescribing for high-risk patients
  • Facilitating health care system changes such as implementation of opioid prescribing guidelines and other pain management strategies
  • Obtaining commitment of prescribers to use the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) prescription monitoring program
  • Expanding access to sustainable drug disposal options

Naloxone Distribution

Building on its commitment to stem the dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths in Ohio, the ODH VIPS allocated support and technical assistance to initiate Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone), Ohio's first naloxone distribution program, in the Portsmouth City Health Department in Scioto County. The VIPS has since provided and continues to provide technical assistance, resources and financial support to expand Project DAWN sites to other counties in Ohio.

Overdose Surveillance

The VIPS is committed to better understanding the circumstances surrounding overdose deaths in order to prevent them. ODH collects data on fatal and non-fatal overdoses. The fatal overdose death data are collected through the Ohio Violent Death Reporting System (OH-VDRS); data reports are available.

Public Awareness

Stop Overdoses is ODH's naloxone campaign. It provides information on signs and symptoms of an overdose and how to access naloxone. Billboards and radio spots are available to use by communities. The newest campaign features Ohioans who have been saved by naloxone; their testimonials are highlighted on the website.

ODH has launched a comprehensive awareness campaign known as Take Charge Ohio to help Ohioans manage pain safely and create safer pain medication practices. Take Charge Ohio is more than a campaign – it’s an initiative to empower all Ohioans to work together to use pain medication safely.