TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A scary increase in overdose deaths hit the Buckeye State last year. The Ohio Department of Health shows a 20% increase in 2017 from 2016.
Several organizations in our area are literally in a battle to help save lives. This is the eighth consecutive year fatal overdoses have increased in the state. While these numbers are bleak, leaders say there is some hope in the Ohio Department of Health's newest numbers.
There were 4,854 lives lost due to fatal drug overdoses in 2017. That's 804 more lives lost than in 2016.
"I'm not surprised that we still see the ultimate tragedy in people being lost from addiction and specifically opioid usage," said Todd Crandell, founder of Racing for Recovery.
Of the deaths recorded fentanyl accounts for a nearly 75% of the fatal overdoses. Leaders know that is a serious issue, but say there is a glimmer of hope in these new numbers. The Columbus Dispatch reports there is a decrease in overdose deaths related to heroin and prescription opioids.
Todd Crandell at Racing for Recovery admits some of these numbers are alarming, but says there is success happening. He believes there are so many people who are beating their addiction and that those numbers are on the rise.
At Racing for Recovery, they see thousands through their doors weekly for support and serve close to 300 clients a week.
"Addiction can be prevented and I say this all the time," said Crandell. "Nobody has to die from drugs and alcohol ever again, but we have to understand why we're using drugs and then build a lifestyle that is conducive to sobriety."
Crandell believes we are failing to notice the success stories. He's been sober since 1993 and now devotes his life to helping others do the same. He believes change comes from treating the person their heart, body, mind and soul.
"For us it's constantly focusing on what's wrong with you on an emotional level," explained Todd Crandell, founder of Racing for Recovery. "How do we help you heal from that and then look what you can do in recovery. Our slogan is, 'With sobriety anything is possible' and we're truly watching people live that."
While the study shows Lucas County does have the seventh largest amount of fatal overdoses in Ohio, that number has decreased from 2016.
A decrease in overdose deaths is something Todd Crandell believes will continue as our community continues to come together to fight back.