Portsmouth Ohio

Where Southern Hospitality Begins

Injury Prevention

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that injury is the leading cause of death among persons age 1-44. Among those top leading causes of death is prescription overdose. Since 1999, the amount of prescription painkillers prescribed and sold in the U.S. has nearly quadrupled, yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report. Overprescribing leads to more abuse and more overdose deaths. Every day, 44 people in the U.S. die from overdose of prescription painkillers, and many more become addicted.

Heroin use is part of a larger substance abuse problem. CDC Vital Signs www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/heroin

Due to the rapid and alarming increase in drug overdose deaths, the Ohio Department of Health, Violence and Injury Prevention Program created a subgroup, the Prescription Drug Abuse Action Group (PDAAG) of the Ohio Injury Prevention Partnership (OIPP) to focus specifically on this epidemic of drug deaths. Data reveals that:

  • From 1999 to 2012, the number of deaths in Ohio due to unintentional drug overdose increased 485 percent, and the increase has been driven largely by prescription drug overdoses.
  • In Ohio, since 2007, there have been more deaths from drug overdose than from motor vehicle traffic crashes.  
  • There were 327 fatal drug overdoses in 1999 and the number grew to 1,914 deaths in 2012.
  • Females represent the fastest growing group at risk for fatal prescription drug overdose.


Injury and violence remain major public health problems in Ohio because of the incomparable cost and the disabling and disrupting consequences. They are the leading cause of death for Ohioans aged 1 to 44 and the fifth leading cause of death overall. Injuries cause more deaths of children and young adults from ages 1 through 44 than all other causes combined, including heart disease, stroke and cancer.

The Office of Injury Prevention (OOIP) at the Portsmouth City Health Department is funded through grants from the Ohio Department of Health Bureau for Health Promotion/Risk Reduction, and the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The Office of Injury Prevention serves to promote injury prevention through a combination of education, environmental engineering, and the provision of safety devices known to reduce injuries and death. The overall goal of the Office of Injury Prevention is to reduce the incidence of unintentional injuries in an effort to reduce the incidence of accident-related disabilities and death.

The OOIP is concerned with preventing injury of all types. However, based on Ohio-specific injury data and an in-depth prioritization process, the OOIP has identified and developed specific strategies related to prescription drug overdose.

Office of Injury Prevention Services

The Portsmouth City Health Department is committed to strengthening and sustaining effective injury prevention and control measures that reflect the significance of the problem. We strive to reduce prescirption drug overdose rates through campaigns and programs such as Project DAWN: Deaths Avoided With Naloxone, Prescription for Prevention: Stop the Epidemic, and Drug-Free Communities. We work in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Health, Scioto County Drug Action Team Alliance, Appalachian Regional ADAMHS (Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Services) Boards, local law enforcement, treatment facilities, and many local businesses who choose to be a part of the solution to the prescription drug problem. Through these collaborations and programs, we hope to reduce injury rates and make our community a safer place.

Please contact Marissa Wicker, Injury Prevention Health Educator, for more information at (740) 354-8944.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov

Ohio Department of Health, www.healthy.ohio.gov

Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services, www.mha.ohio.gov