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Misuse of prescription drugs, use of heroin, methamphetamine in Ohio

Apr 30, 2018

Download the report here and the data tables here.

The Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) is conducted every year to learn more about the health opinions, behaviors and status of adults in Ohio. In 2017, OHIP asked participants if they had friends and family who had misused or abused prescription pain relievers, heroin or methamphetamine.1

According to the Ohio Department of Health, more than 4,000 Ohioans died from unintentional drug overdoses in 2016, up from 3,050 in 2015.2 This is especially problematic in Ohio. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2015 Ohio led the nation in opioid overdose deaths.3

What did OHIP find?

3 in 10 know of pain drug misuse; 2 in 10 know of heroin use

About 3 in 10 Ohio adults (27%) reported having a friend or family member who has experienced problems as a result of abusing prescription drugs. This percentage rose sharply in 2015 and has remained relatively stable since.

Two in 10 Ohio adults (23%) reported knowing someone who has had trouble as a result of using heroin. As with prescription pain relievers, this percentage rose in 2015 and has remained about the same since then.

Over 1 in 10 know of methamphetamine use

In 2017, OHIP also asked about methamphetamine use for the first time. More than 1 in 10 Ohio adults (13%) knew someone who has experienced problems as a result of using methamphetamine. This is similar to 2014 when 14% of Ohio adults reported knowing about heroin use. It will be important to monitor the prevalence of methamphetamine use into the future.

Knowledge of opioid use spread across all income levels

Ohio adults of different income levels were equally likely to know someone who has abused prescription drugs. Ohio adults earning the least – 138% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG)4 or less – were slightly more likely than those earning more to know someone who has used heroin. Similarly, Ohio adults earning 138% FPG or less were more likely than those earning more than 200% FPG to know someone who has used methamphetamine.

Why do we ask these questions?

It can be difficult to assess the true extent of drug use in our state. Many reports are based on overdose deaths, but there are people who use drugs and experience problems even if they do not overdose. These particular questions give us another approach to tracking the impact of drug use and abuse on the lives of adults in Ohio.


1 OHIP asked, “Thinking about your friends and family, have any of your family members or friends experienced problems as a result of … abusing prescription pain relievers such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, or Codeine? … using heroin? … using methamphetamine?”

2 Ohio Department of Health. (2017). 2016 Ohio Drug Overdose Data: General Findings. Retrieved Dec. 13, 2017, from https://www.odh.ohio.gov/-/media/ODH/ASSETS/Files/health/injury-prevention/2016-Ohio-Drug-Overdose-Report-FINAL.pdf?la=en

3 Kaiser Family Foundation. (2017). Opioid Overdose Deaths and Opioid Overdose Deaths as a Percent of All Drug Overdose Deaths. Retrieved Dec. 13, 2017, from http://kaiserf.am/2kxLYa8.

4 In 2016, 138% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines was $33,534 for a family of four; 200% FPG was $48,600.

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