Drug overdose deaths decline in Clermont County

Drug overdose deaths decline in Clermont County
FOX19 NOW/file

CLERMONT COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - Deaths due to drug overdoses declined for the second straight year in Clermont County, according to the Clermont County Coroner's Office.

The Coroner's Office ruled in 2017 that there were 76 deaths caused by accidental drug overdoses.

This compared to 83 in 2016, and 94 in 2015 – the highest number since Clermont County began to see the effects of increased opioid use in the late 2000s.

"We are encouraged by these numbers," said Karen Scherra, the director of the Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board. "These numbers indicate that the comprehensive measures we as a county have taken to address this issue are working."

The MHRB, the county hub in the fight against opioid addiction, is the lead organization in Clermont County's Opiate Task Force, a collaborative that began in 2013 to address the opioid crisis in the county.

In 2017, more medication-assisted treatment and other kinds of treatment became available to more people suffering from substance abuse disorder when MHRB spent over $1.9 million on addiction treatment services, Scherra said.

Other advances in 2017 included more Quick Response Teams, which go to the homes of those who have survived overdoses to connect them to recovery resources; and more police/fire/EMS departments carrying Narcan, which can reverse overdoses.

In addition, a long-term recovery home for men was opened in 2017 in Clermont County. MHRB is now working on funding to open a similar home for women.

Clermont County also opened a women's wing in the Community Alternative Sentencing Center. This jail alternative connects clients with multiple treatment options.

Funding for these initiatives are provided through a combination of MHRB levy funds, federal and state grants.

In March, Hamilton County reported that overdose deaths for 2017 had increased 31 percent over the previous year to 529. Butler County reported a 20% increase to 232.

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