WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ohio (WTAP) – While a recent study by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost links the increase in opioid deaths in Ohio to COVID-19 stimulation control, local law enforcement officials say more research needs to be done before they can support or deny Yosts report.
Attorney General Yost’s report, titled, COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments and Opioid Overdose Deaths, was released Thursday.
Yost claims in the report that data from the Ohio Department of Health found that increases in opioid-related overdose deaths in the second quarter of 2020 coincided with the delivery of federal stimulus checks.
It also says more Ohio ancestors died of opioid overdoses in the second quarter of 2020 than at any time since 2010.
Washington County Chief Deputy Mark Warden said he and his team would need to do more research before giving any opinion on the Yost report.
“Unfortunately, it’s sad, and the truth is, if I’m addicted and I’m addicted and I get money, will I then spend it on the drug of choice that I’m addicted to? So there’s the question,” Warden said. .
Warden said after the first stimulus check in March 2020 that they had 9 overdose deaths.
“Our first overdose death was in May 2020, and it was two. And during that time during our first stimulus control to our second stimulus control, we had a total of nine deaths. Can I sit here and link it directly to the stimulus check that causes these deaths? “I can not,” said Warden. “That would be a very comprehensive study.”
Warden said they reported two deaths after the second round of stimulus checks and five after the third.
Warden said those numbers would likely be higher if first responders did not use the opioid reversal drug Narcan to rescue people who overdose.
“Those numbers would be even much higher if it were not for Narcan,” Warden said.
“Our officers use it. They bring people back from the brink of death.”
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