Volume 2, Issue 2 bullet Summer 2010



CITAR receives grant to study prescription overdose deaths

prescription bottlesPublic Health — Dayton & Montgomery County (PHDMC) has contracted with the medical school’s Center for Interventions, Treatment and Addictions Research (CITAR) to learn why the county has Ohio’s highest rate of unintentional prescription drug/medication poisoning deaths, and to work with a local coalition to make recommendations on how to prevent them.

Preliminary work shows that prescription opioids play a role in the vast majority of deaths, according to the contract’s principal investigator, Russel Falck, M.A., associate professor of community health and CITAR associate director.

Between 2004 and 2008, 645 residents of Montgomery County died from unintentional drug/medication overdoses, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). This drug-related death rate of 23.8 deaths per 100,000 people is more than twice that for the state and the highest among all Ohio counties. In comparison with other urban counties, the rate was 12.5 in Franklin County (Columbus) and 10.3 in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland).

2008 data show that of the 132 drug-related deaths among Montgomery County residents, 106 were attributed to prescription opioids. Among these deaths, methadone was the drug most frequently mentioned in the toxicology reports on decedents, followed by oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Gary LeRoy, M.D., associate dean for student affairs and admissions, will chair, and Brenda Roman, M.D., professor of psychiatry, will serve on the coalition that has been formed as part of the agreement. Besides Falck, CITAR faculty and staff involved in the study include: Robert Carlson, Ph.D., CITAR director and co-principal investigator; Raminta Daniulaityte, Ph.D., co-investigator; Tim Lane, M.Ed., project injury prevention coordinator, and Linna Li, M.S., data analyst.

To learn more about the study, visit the project Web site.