Ohio Statistics: Drugs and Overdoses

Ohio Drug Statistics
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All over the United States, drug overdoses have been rising due to the global pandemic. The 12 months between May 2019 and May 2020 was the deadliest 12-month period for unintentional drug overdose deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affecting more than 81,000 people. The Ohio valley has seen a significant rise with a 13 percent increase in overdose fatalities.

Ohio has a drug overdose epidemic and many are trying to determine what the underlying cause of it is. Normally you would think that heavy drug use leads to more overdoses, but in Ohio’s case, that’s not it. In fact, drug use in the state is below average. However, the overdose rate is what is astronomical, causing Ohio to rank second in the nation. In 2019, 4,028 Ohio residents died from unintentional drug overdoses, an increase of 7 percent from 2018.

The difference between drug use and drug overdoses is alarming, which means that it is likely people are overdosing from stronger drugs.

Snapshot of Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Ohio

In 2016-17, Ohio residents, adults 18 and older, were surveyed about their drug use. The results were as followed:

Illegal drug use: 10.4 percent (Ohio residents) compared to the U.S. average of 11.2 percent.
Marijuana use: 8.8 percent (Ohio residents) compared to the U.S. average of 9.5 percent.

However, when surveyed about their alcohol and tobacco usage, Ohio residents came in above average.

Alcohol use: 55 percent (Ohio residents) vs. U.S. average of 55 percent.
Binge drinking: 27 percent (Ohio residents) vs. U.S. average of 26 percent.
Tobacco use: 31 percent (Ohio residents) vs. U.S. average of 25 percent.

Currently, Ohio’s drug overdose death rate is 38.3 per 100,000. Deaths specifically due to heroin, opiate, and alcohol overdoses have been on the rise. We are going to explore some substance abuse statistics to gain a better understanding of Ohio’s drug overdose problem.

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Ohio Heroin Statistics

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • Heroin-involved deaths in Ohio dropped from 1,000 in 2017 to 721 in 2018.


According to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), in 2019:

  • There were 520 heroin-related overdose deaths, which was a large decrease of 27.2 percent from the previous year (2018)
  • The illicit drug fentanyl was involved in 82 percent of heroin-related overdose deaths


From 2010-19, 12.9 percent of unintentional overdose deaths in Ohio were heroin-related. The rise in the powerful drug fentanyl is one of the main drivers of overdose deaths. When mixed with illicit drugs such as heroin, fentanyl can be extremely dangerous and can significantly increase the chance of overdose and death.

Ohio Opiate Statistics

From 2010-19, 83.7 percent of the unintentional drug overdose deaths were from opioids in Ohio.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • Drug overdose deaths in Ohio from opioids dropped from 4,293 in 2017 to 3,237 in 2018.
  • Prescription opioids specifically decreased to 571 in 2018.
  • Synthetic opioid overdose deaths, other than methadone, declined from 3,523 in 2017 to 2,783 in 2018.


While overdose deaths decreased in 2018, opioids prescriptions written by doctors were 53.5 per every 100 people which is above the average U.S. rate of 51.4 prescriptions for every 100 persons. That is cause for concern as the more people that are prescribed prescription painkillers such as opioids, the more people that can potentially misuse them.

Ohio Alcohol Statistics

Ohio residents proved to be above average in 2016-17 when it came to alcohol consumption and binge drinking compared to the rest of the United States.

  • Alcohol use: 55 percent (Ohio residents) compared to U.S. average of 55 percent.
  • Binge drinking: 27 percent (Ohio residents) compared to U.S. average of 26 percent.


From 2010-19, 14.4 percent of unintentional drug overdose deaths in Ohio were from alcohol.

Drug Addiction Help Near Me

DreamLife Recovery is located right outside of Ohio in beautiful Donegal, PA, in Westmoreland County. It is a safe environment where addiction treatment and recovery is made possible. Our team of medical specialists create specialized treatment programs specific to each individual and their needs. If you or someone you love is looking to recover from heroin, opiate, or alcohol addiction, contact our admissions team today. It is our goal to help you achieve sobriety and live a fulfilling life.


  1. “The myth of Ohio’s ‘drug use problem'” – Harm Reduction Ohio, 24 April, 2017
  2. “Drug Overdose” – Ohio Department of Health, 4 January, 2021
  3. “2019 Ohio Drug Overdose Data: General Findings” – Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau
  4. “Ohio” – National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019