Poison control reports for opiate exposure, a side-effect of high prescription drug abuse, shifted from southern Ohio to the eastern part of the state, according to data presented Tuesday at the Ohio Attorney General’s Prescription Drug Abuse Advisory Council.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine called the findings from early 2012 “fascinating,” saying it was good news for southern Ohio counties and bad news for those in eastern Ohio near West Virginia.
“It’s good information for those involved in law enforcement that concentrated on those six or seven counties (in southern Ohio),” DeWine said. “It looks like we have some results.”
In November, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office called southern Ohio the epicenter of the prescription drug abuse problem in the state, but if figures presented Wednesday are accurate, the epicenter shifted nearly a year ago.
Poison control reports provide an early warning system for prescription drug abuse because overdoses are tracked in real time, DeWine said.
The data was pulled from the Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Services system, which maps prescription drug use based on college surveys, poison center reports, treatment program participants, law enforcement and crowdsourcing of drug prices, said Alfred Aleguas, managing director of the Northern Ohio Poison Center.
The Northern Ohio Poison Center subscribes to the RADARS system to track trends in drug use, Aleguas said.
“It allows us to keep real-time surveillance,” Aleguas said.
The RADARS system primarily is used by pharmaceutical companies to monitor data on their products. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office does not subscribe to the service.
Aleguas presented information from the RADARS system Wednesday to determine if agencies were interested in using it in the future, Ohio Attorney General’s Office spokesman Mark Moretti said.
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