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    Posted May 31, 2014 by
    Bingen, Washington
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
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    Drug-Related Deaths on the Rise


    COLUMBUS, Ohio –  The state says a record number of Ohioans died from heroin-related overdoses in 2012 as it released the newest available figures for a problem that's been called an epidemic and public health crisis.


    The Department of Health says 680 people died of heroin overdoses in 2012, up from 426 deaths in 2011, a 37 percent increase.


    The heroin increase also drove the overall number of fatal drug overdoses to a new record of 1,272 deaths in 2012, up from 1,154 the previous year.


    The state said Friday the number of fatal prescription painkiller overdoses decreased for the first time since 2003, a drop attributed to a statewide crack down on pill mills.

    Heroin addiction has been increasing as addicts turn to the cheaper and more readily available drug.


    In the wake of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman's death; heroin has been on the rise in the public eye - but it is not the only drug responsible for the growing rate of people dying from intentional or accidental overdose. The frightening truth is that many of today's overdoses are caused by legally prescribed psychiatric drugs or narcotic pain relievers.

    Apart from the widely-reported celebrity deaths (think back; how many can you name? Michael Jackson, Brittany Murphy, Heath Ledger, Whitney Houston...) there are thousands upon thousands of deaths reported every day to The Department of Health related to drug abuse both legal and illegal. Alarmingly, a great number of these deaths are attributed to mature, successful adults.


    Yale English Professor Samuel See overdosed on methamphetamine and amphetamine last November.


    Euro RSCG Senior Marketing Director Alys Whitley died due to overdose of legal psychiatric drugs in December.


    While you could argue that things were worse in the 80's and 90's before widespread use of needle exchange programs and few options for addicts seeking avenue of healthy recovery; drug-related deaths are now the third highest cause of death in the United States each year rivaled only by automobile accidents and heart disease.

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