Column: Strong partnerships needed to address county’s overdose deaths

Graphic courtesy Ohio Department of Health

The Crawford-Marion Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board, Crawford County Public Health and the Galion City Health Department are providing this guest column in response to the story “Ohio Drug Overdose Death Rate Second Highest in Nation” which appeared in the Aug. 17 edition of the Galion Inquirer.

According to data released by Crawford County Public Health, ninety-four (94) individuals have died from unintentional drug overdoses in Crawford County since 2008, with over half of those deaths occurring in the past four years. According to a recent study published by the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Public Health, there have been over 7,500 years of life lost (adjusted for population) due to overdose from 2009-2018 in Crawford County. “This is a significant public health problem that requires multiple strategies and an “all hands on deck” approach,” states Galion City Health Commissioner, Trish Factor.

Based on 2018 data from the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS), Crawford County’s rate of opioid doses per capita was 49.4, which is above the state average of 40.5. However, Crawford County’s rate has dropped substantially since 2010 when it was over 78 doses per capita.

We have recently seen a shift in drug trends and related seizure activity. Heroin and other opiates (with the exception of fentanyl) have been on the decline while we have seen large increases in methamphetamine (meth) and cocaine. The emergence of meth and cocaine present significant challenges for first responders, law enforcement, healthcare and behavioral health. In addition, we still see significant problems with other substances such as marijuana and alcohol.

Collaborative strategies in place to help us move forward

Evidence-based Prevention: Youth-led prevention is available in all Crawford County schools through the Teen Institute and Junior Teen Institute Program provided by Marion-Crawford Prevention Programs.

Drug Free Coalition: Over the last year, community partners have focused on creating a Drug Free Coalition. Coalitions generally consist of parents, teachers, law enforcement, businesses, religious leaders, health providers and other community to make their communities safer, healthier and drug-free. The coalition implements strategies across Crawford County to address Youth Substance Abuse.

Funds for Withdrawal Management: The ADAMH Board is able to provide withdrawal management (subacute detox) to those who need that service. Clients must be assessed for medical necessity. Transportation is provided to and from the facility.

Community Health Assessment/Community Health Improvement Plan: Crawford County Public Health, Galion City Health Department, along with the ADAMH Board, Avita Health System, Crawford County Education & Economic Development Partnership, Together We Hurt, Together We Heal, the Crawford County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the Community Foundation for Crawford County, funded the Health Assessment in Crawford County.

Based on the 2019 Crawford County Health Assessment, one of the two priorities over the next three years will include Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders (includes adult/youth depression, suicide, ACEs, youth bulling, poor mental health days, adult drug use, adult/youth alcohol use and adult/youth vaping).

Naloxone Training and Distribution: The ADAMH Board collaborates with Crawford County Public Health and Galion City Health Departments to offer free naloxone trainings to the public on a monthly basis. Class participants receive naloxone education, learn how to utilize the naloxone medication, and receive a personal kit to take with them. We also go to area business, churches, and organizations to provide this training. Crawford County Public Health has also been successful in obtaining naloxone for all law enforcement agencies in Crawford County.

Educational Opportunities: The ADAMH Board has taken a leadership role in providing community education and training on different topics including but not limited to an Addiction Symposium in September in conjunction with ARCHway Institute, Marion-Crawford Prevention Program, Marion Technical College, and Ohio State University – Marion. There is also a plan to provide a training for medical professionals in October to discuss prescribing practices in partnership with OhioHealth. An educational forum, open to the public, called Street Smart Ohio (formerly Operation Street Smart) is also being held to increase awareness on the current trends, paraphernalia and physiological effects for those that deal with today’s youth on a daily basis.

Brad DeCamp, Executive Director for Crawford-Marion ADAMH Board is encouraged by all these recent efforts in the community. “Crawford County is working to end the drug overdose crisis by collaborating across agencies on prevention strategies, emergency response, treatment and recovery strategies,” DeCamp said. “We’ve seen some progress, but there is still work to do.”

Graphic courtesy Ohio Department of Health courtesy Ohio Department of Health

This column was contributed by Brad DeCamp, executive director Crawford-Marion ADAMH Board, 740-387-8531, along with Trish Factor, health commissioner of the Galion Health Department; and Kate Siefert, commission of the Crawford County Health Department.

This column was contributed by Brad DeCamp, executive director Crawford-Marion ADAMH Board, 740-387-8531, along with Trish Factor, health commissioner of the Galion Health Department; and Kate Siefert, commission of the Crawford County Health Department.