CNN just posted a powerful and sobering article, "This is America on drugs: A visual guide."
One of the very first visuals you see is an infographic showing just how rapidly the drug problem in America has grown since 1999. Think about this in 1999 there were 1.9-7.5 deaths per 100,000 people in the state of Ohio from drug and opioid overdose. In 2014? Ohio now has one of the highest death rates in the entire country—21.5-36.3 deaths per 100,000 people.
Drugs now kill more people than car accidents or guns in our country.
To blame? Most likely greater use of heroin and synthetic opioids, according to the CNN expose.
CNN also states that this drug epidemic has taken place out of the spotlight. "That might be because drug deaths have disproportionately hit small towns and rural America, mainly in Appalachia and in the Southwest, far away from the eye of the national media," CNN reports.
Consider this. Ohio has the fifth highest drug overdose rate in the nation. The rate even increased 11 percent in 2015. Ahead of Ohio? Pennsylvania, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and West Virginia. With the exception of New Hampshire, it feels as if this problem has made its headquarters right in our backyard.
On Sept. 12, CNN also posted this article, "21 heroin overdoses reported in Ohio in a day as state battles epidemic." "Ohio authorities reported at least 21 overdoses in Akron as the state battles a drug epidemic."
Columbiana's death rate per 100,000 people stood at 16.7-20.6 in 2014 according to an Ohio Department of Health report. Trumbull, Mahoning, and Columbiana counties were all listed among the 33 counties with the highest overdose death rates.
With this kind of epidemic in our state, it's critical to take a stand. It's critical that we educate our children about the power that drugs hold. It's critical that the mission of The Brightside Project flourishes. Will you join us in changing these statistics?