APNewsBreak: Record high for Ohio overdose deaths

ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS AP Legal Affairs Writer Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- New data shows the state had a record high number of accidental drug overdoses in 2010, driven largely by Ohio's epidemic of pain pill abuse.

Ohio Department of Health figures released Thursday show that 1,544 people died from accidental overdoses in 2010, a 5 percent increase over the next highest figures from 2008.

The data, the most recent available from the state, also says pain medication figured in nearly half of the overdoses in 2010, up from 39 percent in 2009.

The Health Department also says heroin-involved overdose deaths continue to soar, accounting for one in five deaths in 2010.

Health Department spokeswoman Tessie Pollock tells The Associated Press the record statistics were seen before Ohio began aggressive efforts last year to combat the pain pill problem.