WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report highlighting progress in reducing drug overdose deaths in 2018. The report found that there were 67,744 opioid overdose deaths across the United States last year, a four percent reduction from the previous year’s total of 70,699. Ohio experienced a 22 percent reduction from the last year. Overdose deaths attributable to opioids have fallen by two percent over the last year, but deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl increased by nearly 10 percent. In addition, overdose deaths from psychostimulants like methamphetamine increased nearly 25 percent.
This is consistent with what U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) has seen and heard as he’s met with those on the frontlines combatting the drug abuse epidemic in Ohio. That’s why it is important that Congress pass the Combating Meth & Cocaine Act to give states more flexibility to use federal funding to address the resurgence of psychostimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine. Senator Portman issued following statement on the report and the need to combat the rise of methamphetamine:
“The latest CDC report shows that we continue to make progress is reducing overall drug overdose deaths. It also shows overdose deaths attributable to opioids have dropped by five percent. That’s good news, but our work is far from over. The report also highlights the urgent need to continue our efforts to address the spike deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl that continue to devastate our communities. In addition, as I’ve discussed on the Senate floor several times already this year, we are seeing a resurgence of methamphetamine that is contributing to increasing overdose deaths, both in Ohio and nationally. First responders across Ohio who are on the frontlines of this crisis continually tell me about the resurgence of methamphetamine and cocaine overdoses across Ohio.
“Over the past few years, I’ve been pleased that Congress has provided significant additional resources to support the efforts of states and local communities to combat the drug epidemic. Initiatives like the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which I authored, CURES and the STOP Act are beginning to make a real difference. Unfortunately, some of the resources which have helped stem the tide of opioid overdoses, like the State Opioid Response Grants, cannot be used to combat the drug crisis beyond opioids. I urge my colleagues to support my legislation which gives states more flexibility to use this funding to address the resurgence of methamphetamine and cocaine, which will better address the on-the-ground reality of addiction in my state and many others.”