Ohio is an important state in the center of the original western expansion of the United States. Ohio is one of the states that can make a claim to truly representing America, and this is because of the overall “normalness” of its people. Ohio is a swing state in nearly every major election simply because it’s people are so evenly representative of the nation’s ideas, viewpoints and states of mind.

It may be for this reason that Ohio is very similar to American averages when it comes to topics like the amount of drugs that residents use or how many Ohioans die because of their drug use. In both of these categories, Ohio is slightly below the national average. This shows that with hard work, Ohio could possibly drop well below these national averages.

Ohio Drug Use Facts

Even with its suburban beauty, the state of Ohio has its share of drug addiction and abuse problems as well as consequences connected to use. They are as follows:

  • 7.87 percent of Ohio residents admit to using illegal drugs in the past month, while the national average is lower at only 8.82 percent of Americans in general. This means the state is very close to being on par with the rest of the country.
  • The number of Ohio residents that die as a direct result of their drug use is also very similar to the national average. In Ohio, 11.6 out of every 100,000 people die as a direct result of using drugs, whereas the national average is 12.8 people per 100,000.
  • Ohio is in the top ten states of teenagers using prescription pain relievers to get high.

The Drug Problem in Ohio

Ohio is a state with a large population with nearly 12 million residents.  This makes the state the 7th largest in the nation overall by population.  As far as drug abuse is concerned the state falls in the middle of the pack with about 8% of the adult population stating they had used illicit drugs in the 30 days prior to a survey conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.  By comparison states with the lowest percentage of drug abuse have 5% of their citizens using illicit drugs, while states with the highest percentage come in at up to 12%.

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in Ohio with about 11% of adults over the age of 12 reporting that they used the drug in the month prior to the survey.  While marijuana is also the most commonly used drug nationwide, Ohio ranks higher than most states and falls in the top third of all states in the nation.

Cocaine use in Ohio is also slightly higher than average with 2.5% of adults saying they used the drug in the past month.  Nonmedical use of prescription pain killers is another category where Ohio ranked higher than average with nearly 6% of the population answering that they had used them for nonmedical purposes in the past month. 

In 2013 Ohio’s Attorney General held a series of community forums in the state as a way for citizens to discuss the drug epidemic there.  The purpose of these forums, were to come up with recommendations to help reduce addiction and help curb drug related crime.  One of the main points discussed was the 440 percent increase in drug related overdoses in the state from 1999 to 2011.  Scioto County had the highest overdose rate per capita in Ohio from 2007 to 2011.

A statistical breakdown of the most common drugs that are being used in Ohio are:

  • Heroin is used at low levels in the state, but it is growing rapidly. Twenty years go it was responsible for less than 10 percent of those admissions, but that figure has now doubled to at almost 20 percent.
  • Marijuana is currently the most popular drug in the state. It is responsible for about 40 percent of all drug treatment admissions in the state.
  • Cocaine and crack are declining in usage and in treatment admissions. At about 15 percent, they now account for less drug treatment admissions that at any recorded point in the state’s history.
  • Prescription drug abuse continues to increase in the state. These drugs are easy to acquire and abuse, and they are now responsible for about 17 percent of all the drug treatment admissions across the state of Ohio.

Sources & Resources for Ohio Drug Treatment

WhiteHouse.gov: Ohio Drug Control Update – http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/state-profile-ohio.pdf 

WOWK TV: Ohio AG kicks off Community Drug Epidemic Meetings in Portsmouth – http://www.wowktv.com/story/23773060/ohio-ag-kicks-off-community-drug-epidemic-meeetings-in-portsmouth-drugs-heroin-dayton-detroit-moneyton-mike-dewine-scioto-county