Located in northwest Ohio, Toledo lies on the Ohio/Michigan border. Known for its glass manufacturing history, Toledo was nicknamed “The Glass City.” Toledo is the fourth most populated city in Ohio with a metropolitan population of about 600,000. A significant number of people in Toledo struggle with substance abuse and addiction.
Toledo is involved in both the glass and automotive industries and continues to battle the negative consequences of drug and alcohol addiction. Substances such as alcohol, prescription opioids and heroin are all highly available throughout Toledo, adding to their abuse potential.
Alcohol is the second-most abused substance in the city after heroin and is often reported as a secondary substance of use in combination with other substances, such as opioids, the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring agency (OSAM) reports. Both drug and alcohol abuse are issues that residents of Toledo face.
Drug Abuse And Addiction In Toledo
Toledo was ranked the 10th most dangerous city for experiencing a drug overdose, according to a list made from various Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The state of Ohio has become so rife with drug overdoses that many individual lawsuits have been compiled into one, and taken to a federal court in Cleveland.
Although each Ohio county has reported at least one death due to opioid overdose, it is the large cities, like Toledo, that are in greater need of more addiction treatment centers. People who struggle with substance use disorders may feel that treatment is out of their reach and continue to suffer despite wanting to stop misusing substances.
A dangerous cocktail of methamphetamines and the extremely potent opioid fentanyl have supercharged the opioid-related death tolls throughout the state of Ohio over the last year. Illicit drug availability has also increased due to more illegal drug purchasing being done online.
The Evolving Heroin And Opioid Epidemic In Ohio
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved prescription opioids in the mid-1990s for medical use, the pharmaceutical companies fought to begin mass-marketing the medications. As part of their marketing campaign, pharmaceutical companies made sure to avoid addressing the potential addictiveness of opioids, which influenced an alarming number of physicians to begin prescribing them.
In recent years, Ohio has become one of the top five states in the United States with the highest number of illegal prescription opioids. As these medications became more available, more of them were diverted for illegal use, and the number of people who became addicted to them increased as well.
Recently, in 2016, Ohio finally started to see some progress as the number of prescriptions for opioids went down in the state for the first time since 2004. As a result, many people who may have started out taking opioids for a legitimate medical concern turned to heroin abuse instead. Heroin is an illegal street opioid with no regulations as to how it is made. Because of this, it is often less expensive and more readily available than prescription opioids.
In Toledo, all forms of heroin are available, and recently drug dealers have begun to give out “tester” samples of their product, to “hook” new customers and keep them coming back for more. Even more terrifying is that since heroin is not held to any standard, it may be laced with very toxic substances. Some examples of substances found in heroin include fentanyl and pet dewormer.
How Illegal Drugs Get To Toledo
Ohio officials have reported that many of the illicit drugs they are finding in cities such as Toledo arrive in packages delivered by the U.S. Post Office. People are now able to order these substances anonymously online from places such as China. The drug producers in China and other countries then exploit a loophole in U.S. law, which allows packages to come into the country virtually unchecked.
China is one of the major producers of synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and carfentanil, but law enforcement officials also believe that these substances are being produced and distributed from Mexico as well.
The Most Commonly Abused Drugs In Toledo
The most commonly abused substances in Toledo include heroin, powder cocaine, and prescription opioids, the OSAM reports. The 2017 drug abuse trends in Toledo also reported the following:
Heroin remains highly available in the Toledo region, which may be one reason why it has remained one of the most abused drugs throughout the state. OSAM survey participants reported heroin availability at a “10” on a 0 (impossible to get) to 10 (extremely easy to get) scale. One law enforcement officer even rated heroin availability at an “11” stating, “You can go anywhere [and obtain heroin]…it’s everywhere.”
Media outlets reported on many law enforcement seizures and arrests in the Toledo region, including Seneca, Ottawa, Hancock and Lucas counties. Although many types of heroin remain available in Toledo, community members and survey participants both report that powder heroin is the most popular form of the drug. “Tar” or black tar heroin is more challenging to come by in the Toledo area. Usually, the powder heroin is white, which makes it easier to mix with other toxic substances. Overall, heroin availability in Toledo has reportedly remained the same over the last six months.
Participants in the survey agree that the quality of the heroin found in Toledo is a “10” on a 0 (poor quality, “garbage”) to 10 (high quality) scale. One participant noted, “People are dropping like flies, so evidently, it’s really, really ‘good’ (potent).”
Individuals who participated in the survey were not able to agree on the change in the quality of heroin over the last six months, however. Half of the participants reported that they believed the heroin quality had increased, while the other half thought it had decreased. One participant stated, “It’s either trash, or it’s fentanyl.”
Individuals in Toledo are aware that the heroin they purchase on the streets is almost certainly cut with other substances, and may not even be heroin at all. Common additives local crime labs have reported finding in samples of confiscated heroin include baby laxatives, baking powder, Benefiber, lactose, morphine, and Xanax (alprazolam).
Powdered cocaine remains highly available in Toledo. One participant stated, “People can get it, cocaine is everywhere you go.” Most often, survey participants rated its current availability a “10” on a 0 (impossible to get) to 10 (extremely easy to get) scale. Law enforcement officials, on the other hand, reported the availability of powdered cocaine to be a “5” on the same scale.
The Hancock County Court reports that there have been 39 adult drug tests that tested positive for cocaine in the past six months. Media outlets also reported law enforcement seizures for cocaine in Ottawa, Lucas, and Erie counties.
Both survey participants and treatment providers reported that the availability of powdered cocaine had remained the same over the past six months, while law enforcement officials maintain that its availability has decreased.
Usually, the overall quality of powdered cocaine was rated as a “5” on a 0 (poor quality) to 10 (high quality) scale. The previous quality ranking from the 2016 survey was an “8.” Individuals report that depending on where and whom it’s from, the quality of powder cocaine varies quite a bit. Dangerous cutting agents have also been found in the powdered cocaine supply in Toledo, including baking soda, laxatives, vitamin B12, and fentanyl.
Prescription opioids are moderate to highly available for illicit use throughout the Toledo region. The availability of these drugs was rated as a “7” on a 0 (not available) to 10 (highly available) scale. The previous score from the 2016 survey was an “8.”
There were 307 prescription opioid cases reported during the past six months, according to data from the National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) in the combined counties which make up Toledo. Law enforcement opioid-related drug busts also occurred in Wood, Hancock and Ottawa counties.
Some popular prescription opioids in Toledo include Percocet (oxycodone), OxyContin OP (oxycodone), Opana (oxymorphone) and Roxicodone (oxycodone). Survey participants reported that the general street availability of prescription opioids has decreased over the last six months. Many individuals noted that due to this decrease, they and people they know switched to heroin abuse.
People participating in the survey reported that the typical illegal prescription opioid users in the Toledo area are white “suburban kids” between the ages of 15 and 18, and drug dealers and other people who prefer “downers” or depressants. Treatment providers also add that most people they see struggle with prescription opioid abuse are young high school or college athletes who get hurt and start taking these medications legitimately, then move to illicit use once their doctor cuts them off.
Other Commonly Used Drugs In Toledo
In addition to the above drugs, substances such as Suboxone (buprenorphine), sedative-hypnotics and hallucinogens (LSD and psilocybin mushrooms) are also available and continually abused in Toledo. Typically, these substances are abused orally because they are most commonly available in liquid and tablet forms.
Alcohol Abuse And Addiction In Toledo
The second-most abused substance in Toledo is alcohol, which is often used in combination with other substances. OSAM participants report that many people who misuse stimulants such as cocaine drink a lot of alcohol, to keep their night going.
Although the exact number of people in Toledo who abuse alcohol is not known, an assessment of Lucas county reports that 65 percent of Lucas County residents have had at least one alcoholic drink in the past month, and 24 percent of the residents identified as a binge drinker (five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women).
Lives Lost To Substance Abuse In Toledo, Ohio
The number of deaths due to drug and alcohol abuse in Toledo is shocking. With a sharp increase in the amount of fentanyl in the state, many coroner offices are no longer able to house the bodies of the deceased. Coroner offices around Ohio have been forced to temporarily store the deceased bodies in rented, refrigeration units until they can be officially processed. Fentanyl has become the leading substance in opioid-related overdose deaths in Ohio in 2017, Ohio officials report.
The most common administration method of each of the most-abused substances in Toledo is by intravenous injection. Individuals report that they start by snorting heroin, powdered cocaine, and prescription opioids and eventually move on to injecting these substances directly into their veins, in an attempt to experience more intense desired effects.
Due to the high likelihood of intravenous abuse, there is an increased risk of contracting bloodborne diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis. The state of Ohio reported 982 new cases of HIV in 2016. Many of these new cases are believed to be the result of sharing needles for intravenous drug abuse.
There are also a number of deaths that result from people driving under the influence of alcohol in Ohio. The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported that about 30 percent of all traffic accidents in 2016 involved alcohol. Alcohol-related traffic accidents continue to be a considerable concern of the state, as 300 lives were lost due to drunk driving in 2016.
Potential Dangers Of Drug And Alcohol Abuse
The potential dangers of substance abuse depend on the substance of abuse. However, no matter what substance is being misused each is capable of negatively impacting an individual’s life. Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction can influence every aspect of someone’s life, including their social, mental and physical health.
Substance abuse and addiction may cause interpersonal issues and aid in the deterioration of social relationships. Continuously being under the influence of drugs and alcohol can also increase the likelihood of accidental injury, mental health issues, and mood imbalances, especially if someone abuses substances chronically for an extended period of time.
Chronic substance abuse can result in irreversible damage to the body and major organs, including the brain. This damage may cause structural changes to the brain that influence the voluntary choice to continue to abuse substances.
The disease of addiction can easily affect more than the person who suffers from substance abuse. Pregnant women who continue to abuse substances such as opioids or heroin experience an increased risk of their child developing neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) — a condition in which infants are born with an addiction.
Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of substance abuse and addiction is the risk of overdose and potential death. When too much of one substance or a combination of substances is consumed, it may cause an individual to be unable to breathe and potentially result in death. The most effective way to combat these potential dangers is to be open and honest about the situation and seek professional addiction treatment.
Vertava Health of Ohio
Individualized drug and alcohol treatment is a core component of the treatment philosophy at Vertava Health of Ohio. We know that each individual will have a unique recovery process and we are here to support them. With various treatment approaches available, Vertava Health of Ohio can accommodate and assist individuals with all different types of addictions.
Possible addiction types Vertava Health of Ohio can treat include:
- opioids (including heroin)
- cocaine and crack cocaine
- prescription medications
- phencyclidine (PCP)
Vertava Health of Ohio campus is located on beautiful rolling acres that provide guests with a view of the bluffs and rock waterfall. This serene location lends itself well to the addiction recovery process, giving residents a home-away-from-home sort of feeling. A significant number of people are in need of drug and alcohol addiction treatment in Toledo, and Vertava Health of Ohio is one of the many resources Ohio residents can choose to assist them with substance abuse issues.
One major goal of Vertava Health of Ohio is to make sure those who are in need of addiction treatment get what they need, regarding coping mechanisms, aftercare support and overall healing. A short drive from the city of Toledo, Vertava Health of Ohio also offers many different treatment options.
Addiction treatment options offered at Vertava Health of Ohio include:
- co-occurring disorder (dual-diagnosis) treatment
- gender-specific treatment programs for men and women
- medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
- dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- motivational interviewing (MI)
In addition to the standard treatment types, Vertava Health of Ohio offers evidence-based treatment, such as recreational therapy and yoga, meditation and art classes. It is vital for individuals in addiction recovery to find hobbies and other activities to help them get a feel for what life will look like after recovery. The individualized treatment approach at Vertava Health of Ohio helps us to understand the unique needs of each person who comes to us for help.
- Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network — Drug Abuse Trends in the Toledo Region