There's an increasing epidemic in counties of Ohio and Stark County is right in the middle of it. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) ranked Ohio in the top 5 states for drug overdoses in 2015 and the numbers for 2017 are already on track to eclipse 2015 and 2016. In 2003, there were 296 deaths due to drug overdoses. By 2015, the number had risen to 2590, an increase of 775% in just 13 years. By 2016, the number rose to 4,149 drug overdoses and officials in Ohio are reporting the number of deaths is on pace to increase again this year. As Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine stated, "This is the worst drug epidemic I've seen in my lifetime."
There are other increases related to drug overdoses in Canton and its surrounding cities and towns. Canton used to be best known for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and being the site of the William McKinley Presidential Library and the First Ladies National Historic Site. As downtown Canton is starting to thrive with an urban renewal in its downtown arts district, other modern problems are surfacing. The number of nonfatal overdoses is increasing. It is estimated to be as much as three times the rate first responders have encountered previously which ties up valuable resources and adds to the cost of providing emergency services.
Stark County alone is spending over $75,000 a year in toxicology testing alone, sometimes at the rate of $10,000 in a month in an attempt to identify the new drug threats coming in. County morgues are renting or borrowing cold storage trailers to deal with the overflow of bodies in smaller counties being hit hard by this opioid epidemic and none of this takes into account the human cost of losing a loved one through alienation or death.
Heroin mixed with fentanyl and carfentanil are upping the risk of using so that even a habitual user may be put at risk due to the increased potency of their drug of choice. Since short of toxicology testing in a lab, there's no way to distinguish the presence of fentanyl and carfentanil in a batch, heroin users are particularly at risk for the next fix to be their last. In 2016, the coroner's office in Canton handled 500 deaths of which 100 were drug-related. As Rick Walters, an investigator in the Stark County coroner's office based in Canton, expressed it,
"I've been involved in public safety for 40 some years. I remember the drug problem we had in the late 60's and early 70's when I joined the department. The fatality numbers were nothing even close to this."
So how do we handle this epidemic and safeguard our loved ones? Ultimately, the answer is not in providing more treatment. 12 Step treatments and rehabs for opioid users are rarely effective, averaging in studies at between 2-8%. Non-12 Step alternative approaches have consistently outpaced those dismal results with success rates at or above 60%. How can there be such a disparity in outcomes? Traditional treatment relies on shaming, blaming, and tearing people down which works only in a limited way for a short period. A 12 Step or rehab program that promotes self-loathing is not the answer for most people.
Non-12 Step approaches focus on empowering individuals to explore and embrace their freedom of lifestyle choices so they can move completely beyond addiction. When people feel in control of their lives, without remorse, guilt, or longing for drugs, they leave drugs and addiction in their past. If you're looking at yet another rehab or 12-Step program for yourself or a loved one for opioid addiction, do yourself a favor and take a moment to consider a non-12 Step approach. A simple phone call may be the start of a real and permanent change for you or a loved one. You don't have to wait until all else fails to find the right way to end addiction. Call Freedom Model Retreats now for a free consultation on how The Freedom Model can work for you too.