Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



The rate of deaths due to opioid drug overdoses has increased substantially in the 21st-century United States and shows no signs of slowing down. Goleman (1987) stated that opioid drugs are not inherently dangerous when used for their specified purpose of relief of moderate to severe acute pain. However, when they are abused, mixed with other drugs, or their stronger counterparts, used for chronic pain or are used without understanding of their increased strength the effects can be devastating. Ohio is unfortunately no stranger to the problem of opiate abuse and overdose. Counties throughout Ohio have had to add additional space to local morgues to accommodate the ever-growing number of overdose deaths, to the point of having to utilize mobile cooling units to store the bodies of opioid overdose victims (Llorente, 2017). The state of Ohio received the dubious distinction of having the most opioid-related deaths in 2015 (Llorente, 2017). Montgomery, Cuyahoga, and Hamilton counties are currently on pace to top their totals from 2016 due to the introduction of even more powerful synthetic opiates(detailed in subsequent sections). This literature review sought to define opiates and opioids, explore what makes these substances so addictive and deadly, detail the policies and practices that contributed to the current epidemic, detail the current problem in Ohio and the counties that have seen the greatest increase in the number of deaths, and discuss the available interventions and community programs trying to slow the pace of the deaths. It is my hope that this review is clear and beneficial in underscoring the scope of the epidemic and provides insight into why system-wide interventions are needed to address this public health emergency.

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mph_netters_timothy_poster.pdf (50 kB)

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