Welcome to the Franklin County Opiate Crisis Summit webpage. I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to make this commitment: we will address this issue and we will improve the addiction situation here in Franklin County! Collaboration and education are the keys.
Nationally, drug overdose deaths have seen an increase since the early 2000’s. In Ohio, the rate of overdose deaths has been higher than the national average since 2005. By 2007, the number of overdose deaths exceeded deaths from motor vehicle crashes. In Ohio, 2014 saw the highest increase of drug overdose deaths at 17% above that of 2013. Heroin related deaths accounted for 47.4% of overdose deaths and opiate related deaths accounted for 80% in 2014 for all of Ohio.
Seeing a similar trend here in Franklin County, I initiated the Drug Overdose Death Initiative in March of 2015. The purpose of this initiative is to gather agencies and offices involved in addiction to review cases of those who have died of overdoses. The group has met monthly since then and has been able to identify some commonalities of those who die due to overdoses in Franklin County. Statistics showed that the typical decedent was white, male, in his forties, lived or died in one of several zip codes: 43207, 43223, 43228, and 43224. Additionally, a large majority had contact with law enforcement or had been incarcerated some time in their lives and about half have been in contact with a drug treatment facility.
In addition to the review of cases, the group has also shared information on grants and existing programs, as well as emerging programs. We have invited speakers from The Ohio State University Department of Psychiatry, Veterans Affairs Treatment Program for Substance Use Problems, and Columbus City Schools. The Drug Overdose Initiative has become an avenue for Franklin County agencies to collaborate and learn about the state of addiction within the county.
The Franklin County Opiate Crisis Summit developed as a natural progression from the Drug Overdose Death Initiative. We recognize that there are many gaps in our system and have found that there are many agencies working on addiction, some of which are innovative programs not known to all of Franklin County. In order to work on the crisis we need to continue to collaborate and educate. The 2016 Summit provided a forum for education, identification of gaps and problems, and eventual development of a Community Action Plan.
Members of the Franklin County Drug Overdose Initiative have included:
Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), United States Attorney’s Office, Medical Board of Ohio, Pharmacy Board of Ohio, Columbus Police Department, Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program (HIDTA), various local police departments, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Adult Probation Services, Franklin County Public Defender’s Office, Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County (ADAMH), Maryhaven, CompDrug, representatives from Franklin County Commissioners office, Franklin County Public Health, Columbus Public Health Department, representative from City Council Zach Klein’s office, and Office of Homeland Security.
Dr. Anahi Ortiz, M.D., Franklin County Coroner