In May 2017, Montgomery County, Ohio, logged 81 drug overdose deaths—part of an upward trend—helping earn Dayton the title of “overdose capital” of the United States.Katie Wedell, “Can Dayton Go from ‘Overdose Capital’ to a Model for Recovery?” Dayton Daily News, June 24, 2018; and “The Opioid Diaries,” Time, March 5, 2018. But by July, that number had been cut in half and it was holding steady at around 20 deaths per month.Wedell, “Can Dayton Go from ‘Overdose Capital,’” 2018. How did Dayton manage it?
By attacking the crisis from every angle: increased access to naloxone; law enforcement efforts to attempt to slow the distribution of fentanyl into the state; and nonprofits, government agencies, and grassroots groups that stepped in to fill the gaps that kept people from receiving—and completing—treatment.Wedell, “Can Dayton Go from ‘Overdose Capital,’” 2018. It’s working: Dayton saw a 60 percent reduction in overdose deaths, emergency room visits, and ambulance calls between January 2017 and June 2018.Margot Sanger-Katz, “Bleak New Estimates in Drug Epidemic: A Record 72,000 Overdose Deaths in 2017,” New York Times, August 15, 2018. Also see Abby Goodnough, “This City’s Overdose Deaths Have Plunged. Can Others Learn from It?,” New York Times, November 25, 2018.