How Ohio Is Taking On Opioid Addiction

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Opioid addiction has hit the entire United States hard over the past 20 years. A record number of overdose deaths during the OxyContin crisis was followed by a surge in deaths as the level of fentanyl on the street rose. Sadly, Ohio has been impacted by heroin and fentanyl addiction more than most states. 

This article takes a look at Ohio’s struggle with fentanyl, heroin, and painkillers. We also explore how treatment for opioid addiction in Ohio is making a difference. 

Why Ohio Has Been Hit Hard By Fentanyl and Other Opioids

Ohio has the unique distinction of being part of the Midwest, the “Rust Belt” and Appalachia. What does that mean exactly? It puts Ohio right in the center of the hardest working part of America. The so-called Rust Belt is where the American manufacturing economy was built on the backs of hardworking men and women—the parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents of today’s Ohioans. 

Ohioans have always worked hard and built things with their own two hands. One of the things that comes with making a living with your body is pain, unfortunately. An opportunistic drug company called Purdue Pharma took note of this. They recognized that Ohio, like many other states in our area, had a higher-than-average demand for pain relief. 

Ohio has been impacted by fentanyl and other opioids, in part, because:

  • Ohio has a lot of chronic pain patients historically.
  • We were deliberately targeted by predatory marketing from drug companies.
  • Economic decline, depression, and lack of opportunity contribute to addiction.
  • Opioid addiction did not just disappear when prescription monitoring programs appeared.

A Painkiller Manufacturer Takes Advantage of Good People 

Purdue Pharma saw an opportunity in Ohio. Hardworking people with more than their share of chronic pain. Some of whom had good union health insurance policies with solid prescription drug benefits. That made our state a perfect target for a predatory marketing campaign that encouraged doctors to overprescribe Percocet, Loracet, Vicodin, and most of all, OxyContin to their patients. 

The juxtaposition of chronic pain and injuries from manufacturing work, coal mining, and other hard labor with depressed local economies left behind after industries left town — taking good paying jobs with them created a “perfect storm” scenario. The rest is history. OxyContin took off in Ohio in the late 90s and early 2000s and left tens of thousands of Ohioans dead in its wake. Those who survived found themselves afflicted with the curse of opioid addiction. 

Treating Opioid Addiction In The Post-OxyContin Era

While overprescribing of controlled substances, like opioid painkillers is no longer a huge problem in Ohio, that doesn’t mean opioid addiction is “solved”. To its credit, Ohio’s government has done a good job in responding to our opioid crisis. In 2006, the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) was launched. Similar to other prescription monitoring programs (PMPs) like Florida’s E-FORSCE, OARRS helps make “doctor shopping”, pill mills, and overprescribing a thing of the past.  

This is one prevention measure that’s helped with Ohio’s opioid addiction problem, but it’s far from solving it. As access to prescription painkillers has decreased, the black market for heroin and fake painkiller tablets made mostly from fentanyl has risen to fill pent-up demand. Prevention and addiction treatment in Ohio are having a positive impact, however. While opioid overdose deaths in Ohio are still higher than the national average, they are slowly, but surely, declining.

How Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Ohio Has Evolved 

One of the most important innovations in treating opioid addiction in Ohio in recent years has been the advent and growth of partial hospitalization programs and long-term care and support options. The old drug rehab model which consisted of 28 days of inpatient treatment, followed by a recommendation to attend meetings (and little else) is now obsolete. 

Leading addiction treatment specialists in Ohio, like the people who founded Redemption Recovery, have followed the science. What they found is that evidence-based treatment for opioid addiction in the 21st century is more effective because it recognizes addiction as a chronic disease.

The old drug rehab model treats opioid dependence and other addictions as a temporary problem to be solved with a few weeks of inpatient rehab. People were then left to their own devices. Attend meetings and develop their own program of recovery — or more often than not, relapse and return to rehab again and again. This “revolving door” style of treatment may still have helped save many lives, but it was hardly ideal or in the best interests of people trying to recover for good.

Modern Drug Treatment in Ohio is Changing Lives

The new opioid addiction treatment model in Ohio looks much different. At its heart is the acknowledgment that addiction is a chronic illness that requires permanent lifestyle change and maintenance to keep in check. When someone comes to a modern Ohio rehab like Redemption Recovery, they receive a higher standard of care and support than would have been available to them here just 20 or 30 years ago. 

They will usually begin with a safe and comfortable medical detox from a reputable, dedicated detox facility to stabilize and prepare them for treatment. From there, they begin our innovative partial hospitalization program for opioid addiction, which offers a full day (6 hours) of treatment, 5 days a week. This intensive and immersive addiction treatment offers most of what you would find at a pricy inpatient rehab — minus the feeling of being “institutionalized” because you have to sleep and live in a medical center 24 hours a day. 

After the partial hospitalization level of care, clients can progress to intensive outpatient, which offers treatment on a half-day basis, several times a week. This gives you the support only a dedicated addiction specialist can offer, with the flexibility and freedom to live at home, with family, or in a supportive living environment and even continue school or work part-time, if you choose.

Support For Enduring Sobriety at Redemption Recovery

Perhaps the most important element of this new model for addiction treatment and recovery in Ohio is the aftercare planning and support. In the past, all too often people left a 28-day rehab and were left to their own devices to sink or swim. That’s not how we do things at Redemption Recovery. 

Here, every client receives an individualized treatment plan. Think of it as a “road map to your recovery”. This goes well beyond the time you are in treatment with us. We help you plan for the future and establish a new way of living for yourself that results in a sustainable recovery. We offer continuing support, follow-up calls, alumni support, and telemedicine support or referrals. 
Redemption Recovery is ready to help you or the person you love overcome an addiction to heroin, fentanyl, or painkillers. We offer a range of treatment options from partial hospitalization programs (PHP) to intensive outpatient programs (IOP) and outpatient programs in Ohio. All it takes is a phone call to (419) 528-8007 to get started on the next chapter of your life.

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