Overdose deaths during the opioid epidemic

Overdose deaths during the opioid epidemic continue to be an issue. While not at peak levels, there are fears that isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic and disruptions to addiction treatment will lead to an increase in overdose deaths from heroin and other drugs.  ​

Indeed, Cuyahoga County set a record for drug overdose deaths during May of 2020.

Notes

2020 is year estimated if the current trend continues based on the year to date figure of 1,401 through June 30. The 14-day moving average shows that overdoses dropped substantially in April, 2020 but rose above pre-pandemic levels by the end of May and have remained high in June. If this trend continues, overdoses for 2020 could be close to the 2019 number.

At the peak of the overdose crisis in 2017, people overdosed at a rate of more than 12 people PER DAY in Cuyahoga County. At the end of June, 2020 it was about 9 people per day.

Over half of overdoses (11,836 total) in Cuyahoga County were by people ages 25-49. Although they are smaller numbers. There have been more than 1,000 overdoses by people over age 65 since 2013, and more than 2,300 by children under age 18. No age group is immune.

Source(s):

Summit County Public Health Statewide Estimated Drug Overdoses Dashboard. Note from source: “Drug overdose data is retrieved from the state’s EpiCenter surveillance system. “Overdoses” include all emergency visits to a medical provider where drugs were identified as the cause of traumatic injury, and only include cases where the case notes included the terms “OD” or “overdose”. Overdoses caused by suicide attempts or traumatic injuries or by everyday drugs like Tylenol were removed or reclassified where identified. Overdose totals do not include victims who were treated by safety forces and not transported to emergency rooms… Estimates contained here were calculated by methods developed by Summit County Public Health and cannot be considered final or official counts of overdoses in other counties.”