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Accidental Drug Overdose Deaths Continue To Climb

The scope of unintentional overdose deaths in Montgomery County has been recognized for some time. In 2010, when the Poison Death Review process was initiated, Montgomery County led the state in the rate of unintentional overdose cases.

Dayton officials say in spite of efforts to lower the rate of accidental drug overdose deaths in the Miami Valley, the numbers are still climbing.

In Montgomery County, unintentional drug overdose deaths increased 63 percent from just two years ago—from 226 deaths in 2013 to 264 in 2014.  Heroin overdoses climbed 226 percent from 2010 to 2014.         

Montgomery County Health Commissioner Jeffrey Cooper says programs like prescription drug drop off and others are helping but the low cost of drugs like heroin and other addictive opiates are continue to hammer communities around the country.

"Any strategy on it's own is certainly not enough and so when we look at the full spectrum of what we need to do as a community, certainly prevention plays a key role," Cooper said.

Yet, Cooper says results from prevention efforts aren’t always seen right away, and there are no one-size-fits-all treatment options for hard drug users. 

Until the number of drug overdoses start to fall, area health agencies can only try to improve their coordinated efforts and continue to get their message out.

Helen Jones-Kelley is the Executive Director of Montgomery County Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services. In a released statement, she said her agency and others were "running as fast as we can, and we can't seem to overtake the problem."

Adding that, "We will only be successful when we acknowledge that we cannot continue to talk out of both sides of our mouth. If we are serious about eliminating the devastation wreaked by substance use, we have to tackle it from all perspectives. We cannot cherry pick. We have to alert the community to the ill effects of both overuse and misuse of legal prescription drugs as well as their illegal counterparts. It is all substance abuse."

Jerry began volunteering at WYSO in 1991 and hosting Sunday night's Alpha Rhythms in 1992. He joined the YSO staff in 2007 as Morning Edition Host, then All Things Considered. He's hosted Sunday morning's WYSO Weekend since 2008 and produced several radio dramas and specials . In 2009 Jerry received the Best Feature award from Public Radio News Directors Inc., and was named the 2023 winner of the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Best Anchor/News Host award. His current, heart-felt projects include the occasional series Bulletin Board Diaries, which focuses on local, old-school advertisers and small business owners. He has also returned as the co-host Alpha Rhythms.