How Dayton, Ohio is Reducing Opioid Addiction Numbers in the Face of a National Crisis

Ohio has gone from being one of the hardest hit locations in America for opioid addiction and death to the most hopeful for record numbers of recovery. Services available through professionals like the ohio Addiction Recovery Center help provide every family within the community hope for full and lasting recovery.

Disturbing National Trends

The skyrocketing numbers of those becoming addicted to opioids nationwide have shown little in the way of slowing or decreasing. Statistics for the year 2017 show deaths from opioid overdose, especially those involving fentanyl, sat at barely under 50,000 human lives. Ohio opioid addiction statistics show it was 4,854 for this state alone. Fingers of blame have been pointed in many directions to try and put blame or find cause for the increase, but it has done little to help discover the cure.

The Murky Waters of Criminal Prosecution Versus Treatment

An opioid addiction is not one that can be successfully or safely battled at home, especially if the amount used is heavy. Full recovery from this type of addiction requires safe detox and treatment. Many people are hesitant to step forward and ask for help due to the criminal treatment they often undergo. Some states are quick to arrest the addicts for the simple possession of drug paraphernalia. It drives the addict deeper into seclusion and hiding their behaviors, which make it extremely high-risk. It often involves sharing needles and finding ways to get drugs that cannot be traced back to traditional friends and associates. It leads people down some dangerous roads.

How Dayton Created a Compassionate Community of Care

Dayton, Ohio took a step back and made the decision to take a more realistic and compassionate approach. Rather than tying up court dockets and filling jail cells with people that simply needed treatment options, they joined forces with professional services within the community to create a safety net, of sorts. Employers became less apt to fire employees for addiction problems, needle exchange programs were instituted to reduce disease spreading, and treatment was offered rather than long stints in jails. The results are not fully realized yet, but the trend is beginning to show reduced numbers in deaths for the year 2019. The numbers of people seeking treatment are up due to the more compassionate outlook of the community as a whole.

Teaming Up with Centers for American Progress and Increasing Treatment Numbers

Mayors from several cities have partnered with the Centers for American Progress in an attempt to pull together all available resources to combat the opioid crisis in Ohio. The response to the opioid crisis and addiction was monitored and documented in each community. It looked at things like harm reduction, lessening criminal prosecution, emergency assessment and treatment, and treatment program availability, especially to low-income areas. Placing less judgmental people in critical response areas was essential to creating a safety net environment that really works.

How Creativity and Compassion Stared Down the Monster of Addiction

Much of the progress made and spear-headed by the Dayton, Ohio community has been the result of the response monitoring and assessment. The right changes implemented at the right time have resulted in fewer deaths and increased numbers of those in addiction recovery. The reality of relapse is viewed less like a failure by those within the response system. Those struggling with an opioid addiction are encouraged to brush themselves off and get back on the recovery horse. Compassion, knowledge, and encouragement is making a difference.

Going from Ground Zero to Hope

Dayton, Ohio is an expansive city that encompasses a lot of real estate in the Southwestern part of the state. It was easily considered ground zero for the exploding opioid crisis. Thankfully, through the initiatives of a mayor that viewed the struggled of addiction as a medical issue, rather than one of criminal activity, the numbers are set to go down dramatically over the next decade. For the first time in years, there’s hope on the horizon for those struggling with addiction and the families that have felt helpless to make any progress towards treatment and recovery.

Every community has the ability to switch away from the hardline attitude of criminal prosecution of individuals struggling with addiction and take a more compassionate approach. Begin seeking out the networks available in the immediate area if a person that is cared about has started to succumb to addition.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.