According to statistics about 5,000 people die from opioid overdoses in Ohio each year. It’s costing Ohioans between $4 to $5 billion a year. Montgomery County has the highest illicit narcotics overdose deaths in the country. Furthermore, the numbers are increasing rapidly due to the wave of fentanyl laced heroin.
Having the largest female prison populations in the country only fuels the rapid growth of addiction. In the last decade, 35% of all charges against women have been drug related. “70% of Children in Ohio child welfare programs have opioid involved parents, consequently it’s overwhelming the system” says Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Board of Franklin County CEO, David Royer.
Governor Dewine aims to wage legal battles against opioid manufacturers with help from attorney Mike Moore. Moore is representing (3 including Ohio) of the 48 states that have filed lawsuits against Purdue Pharma. The Oxycontin maker was successful sued by Oklahoma to the tune of a $270 million settlement. As a result, other states are to follow suit.The effort hopes to bankrupt the companies at the root of the problem. Furthermore, Ohio initiatives to combat the crisis include forming the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance. This beyond the courtroom approach is being model by other states facing the same issue.
Across the nation the opioid crisis affects 75% of U.S. employers. Shockingly, only 17% feel equipped to deal with the fallout. Industries taking the biggest hit are construction, retail, and manufacturing. Prescription painkiller abuse is costing employers almost $42 billion in lost productivity each year. Add in the health costs associated with addiction, and the price tag rises astronomically. Royer explains, “states need to have a long-term public health strategy on this issue, not a short-term fix. This epidemic has spilled into the American workforce, because once you hire an employee, you inherit their family — and their issues.”