(WKBN) – Aug. 31 is known as International Overdose Awareness Day. According to the Mahoning County Public Health Department, there has been a drastic increase in drug overdoses and drug overdose deaths in the past few years.

In 2015, Ohio was tied with Kentucky as the third state with the highest age-adjusted drug overdose rates in the country. 

In 2017, Ohio increased to having the second highest age-adjusted drug overdose rates in the country. In 2017, Mahoning County ranked tenth in the state for unintentional drug overdose deaths. 

Graph from the Mahoning County Overdose Surveillance Report

However, looking at unintended overdoses in Mahoning County this year compared to last, it seems as though numbers are down.

This may be thanks in part to the efforts by Project Dawn.

Project DAWN is a network of opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution programs coordinated by the Ohio Department of Health. As of July 2022, there are 124 Project DAWN programs registered in Ohio and more than 340 naloxone distribution sites. 

Naloxone is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose.

Graph from the Mahoning County Overdose Surveillance Report

In 2021, 383 Naloxone kits were distributed to first responders, with two doses per kit. So far, this year 133 kits have been distributed to first responders. 

Last year, first responders reported using the kits to save victims a total of 70 times and this year that number is at 53 so far.

These kits are also distributed to the community. 

In the whole state of Ohio, at least 19,760 overdose reversals were reported last year thanks to Project Dawn and its Naloxone distribution.

There are other organizations fighting against overdoses and drug use, such as the Ohio Overdose Prevention Network, Take Charge Ohio and OH Against OD. 

Anyone who may be in need of a Naloxone kit can contact Project Dawn here.