Substance abuse is defined as the use of harmful substances to alter mood. This broad term includes a wide variety of substances, ranging from illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine to tobacco, alcohol, and prescription opioid pain medications.

In the United States, substance use is responsible for more illness, disability, and deaths than any other preventable health condition. Drug-related deaths have tripled since the year 2000. Today, deaths from harmful substances like tobacco, alcohol, and illicit and prescription drugs account for 1 in 4 deaths in the country. [1]

Reflecting nationwide trends, substance abuse is on the rise in Ohio. In 2019, Ohio ranked third in the United States with 38 deaths per 100,000 from drug overdoses. While these numbers can seem daunting, you should know that many drug rehab facilities in Ohio can help a person overcome drug abuse and addiction. If you or a loved one has become prey to any kind of addiction, calling an alcohol and drug hotline in Ohio can help you find effective and affordable rehab programs.

In the following paragraphs we will briefly describe some of the statistics that demonstrate the scale of the drug and alcohol problem in Ohio. This will help you understand why a drug hotline in Ohio is essential to help you and your loved ones find the right treatment program.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Ohio: An Overview

With a land area of 40,000 square miles, a population of just over 11.5 million (more than 80% White), and a median annual household income in 2019 of $56,000, Ohio is truly at The Heart of It All.

In terms of substance abuse, Ohio continues to face a drug abuse and addiction crisis that is taking a toll on individuals, families, and communities. The drug overdose death rate is one of the highest in the nation. In particular, deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl have been on the rise in recent years, mirroring national trends. Ohio is also at the top of the table in binge drinking. Worryingly, young adults in Ohio report high rates of substance abuse. In 2018–2019, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 23% of young adults in Ohio (ages 18 to 25) reported use of illicit drugs within the past month. This is just a little lower than the national average of around 24%. [2]

Alcohol Abuse in Ohio

Excessive alcohol use claims nearly 90,000 lives each year in the United States. Binge drinking (five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women on any given occasion) is responsible for more than half of these deaths. In Ohio, the CDC reported more than 3,200 deaths due to excessive drinking in 2013. One in five adults and nearly one in four high-school students in Ohio reported binge drinking in 2011. [3]

More recently, in 2019, 55% of adults (18+) and 57% of young adults (age 18–25) in Ohio reported past-month use of alcohol. Even more worrisome was the fact that nearly 37% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 reported binge drinking in the past month.

Opioid Addiction in Ohio

In 2017, there were over 67,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States, of which nearly 70% involved opioids. In the state of Ohio, a promising trend emerged, with drug overdose deaths falling from around 4,200 in 2017 to around 3,200 in 2018. Fortunately, overdose deaths from prescription opioids, synthetic opioids (mainly fentanyl), and heroin all showed a decline.

However, in 2018, healthcare providers in Ohio wrote 53 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons, which is higher than the US national average of 51. The NSDUH 2019 found that 3.95% of Ohio residents reported misuse of pain relievers in the past year.

There were more than 38,000 new HIV diagnoses nationwide in 2017. Of these, nearly 10% were attributed to intravenous drug use. In Ohio, close to 1,000 new HIV diagnoses were made in 2017. Of these, nearly 13% were attributed to IV drug use in males and 28% in females. [4]

An opioid addiction hotline in Ohio can help those people who are struggling with opioid abuse. Calling a hotline can help people identify rehab programs and other resources in the community for treatment of fentanyl addiction, heroin addiction, or prescription pain pill addiction, all of which involve opioid drugs.

drug user in Ohio

Heroin Abuse in Ohio

Heroin is a significant threat in Ohio. The drug is shipped to the state from major US distribution centers in the Mid-West, New York City, and various cities in the Southwest, by Dominican and Mexican drug cartels.

In 1999, the percentage of people reporting heroin use at least once in their lifetime was 0.7%. Adult Caucasians and African Americans accounted for 89% of admissions for heroin abuse that year, with males making up 63% of all admissions. [5]

Two decades later, in 2019, 0.35% of people over the age of 12 reported heroin use in the past year. The highest rate of heroin use in Ohio was reported by young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, with 0.42% reporting past-year heroin use in 2019.

Cocaine Addiction in Ohio

In 1999, cocaine was the biggest drug threat in Ohio. Both powdered cocaine and crack were responsible for rising incidents of violence, assault, shootings, and domestic disturbances. Cocaine mainly comes to Ohio from California and Texas as well as New York City and Miami, Florida. Metropolitan areas like Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Dayton are major distribution centers for smaller towns and cities.

A survey in 1999 found that nearly 900,000 people in Ohio aged 12 or over reported using cocaine at least once in their lifetime, and almost 200,000 reported the use of crack/cocaine. Admissions to cocaine treatment programs in the state rose by more than 11% between 1998 and 1999. [6]

Things have not got better in the past two decades. In 2019, nearly 5% of Ohio residents between the ages of 18 and 25 reported past-year cocaine use. This is just marginally lower than the US national average of 5.5%. What’s more, only about 6 out of 10 people surveyed in Ohio perceived great risk from using cocaine once a month.

If you or a loved one is battling cocaine addiction, a cocaine abuse hotline in Ohio can help you get treatment. The hotline can connect you with affordable drug rehab programs in Ohio for medical detox, residential addiction treatment, as well as outpatient psychotherapy and addiction help.

Methamphetamine Use in Ohio

The 2019 NSDUH indicated that 0.81% of young adults 18–25 years in the United States report past-year use of methamphetamines. In Ohio, this figure was reported to be 0.97%, which is higher than the national average. Also, 0.26% of teenagers between the ages of 12–17 years reported past-year meth use.

Marijuana Use in Ohio

Nationwide, roughly 17% of adults (age 12+) report past-year marijuana use. In Ohio, this figure is just under 16%. However, marijuana use is frequent among young adults in Ohio, with more than 35% of 18- to 25-year-olds reporting they used marijuana in the past year.

Substance Abuse by Youth in Ohio

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) in 2019 showed: [7]

  • 16% of high-school students in Ohio had their first drink before age 13.
  • 25% of adolescents in Ohio reported currently drinking alcohol.
  • 13% of teenagers reported binge alcohol use.
  • Nearly 30% of students reported having used marijuana (pot/weed) at least once.
  • Almost 16% of Ohio youth reported current marijuana use (within the past 30 days).
  • 12% of the surveyed youth indicated they had used prescription pain medications without a prescription.
  • 3.5% of youth in Ohio indicated they had used cocaine at least once.
  • 7.8% of students reported using inhalants one or more times in their lifetime.
  • 2% of students reported heroin use at least once in their life.
  • Nearly 15% of students in Ohio reported they were offered, sold, or given an illegal drug on school property.

A teen and youth hotline in Ohio can help adolescents who are dealing with drug abuse and addiction. Teenagers can obtain free and confidential advice and guidance. An alcohol and drug hotline can also provide assistance to parents and guardians in locating Ohio addiction treatment programs for youth who are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. Hotlines typically operate 24/7, including weekends and holidays.

Last updated: March 8, 2023


1 National Institute on Drug Use. Health Consequences of Drug Misuse. Death. Available online. Accessed on June 20, 2021.
2 SAMHSA. 2018-2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Available online. Accessed on June 20, 2021.
3 CDC. Prevention Status Report 2013 Ohio. Available online. Accessed on June 20, 2021.
4 National Institute on Drug Use. Ohio: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms. Available online. Accessed on June 20, 2021.
5 National Drug Intelligence Center. Ohio Drug Threat Assessment- Heroin. Available online. Accessed on June 20, 2021.
6 National Drug Intelligence Center. Ohio Drug Threat Assessment- Cocaine. Available online. Accessed on June 20, 2021.
7 CDC. High School YRBS. Ohio 2019 Results. Available online. Accessed on June 20, 2021.