Statement of purpose In 2018, unintentional drug overdose was the leading cause of injury-related deaths among Ohioans. In the same year, drug poisoning was the third leading mechanism of suicide deaths. This session will review the ‘who, when, where, and how’ of overdose deaths from the Ohio Violent Death Reporting System (OH-VDRS) to provide participants with an understanding of the sociodemographic characteristics and related circumstances (e.g., prior suicide attempts, prior mental health or substance use disorder treatment, co-occurring mental health conditions) surrounding overdose deaths.
Methods/Approach Descriptive statistics of 2016–2018 OH-VDRS data assessed sociodemographic characteristics of and circumstances preceding deaths by unintentional and intentional (i.e., suicide) drug overdose among Ohio residents who died in Ohio.
Results Regardless of intent, most drug overdose decedents were Caucasian (unintentional: 84.6% versus intentional: 95.3%) with a high school degree or less (unintentional: 77.4% versus intentional: 62.5%). While unintentional drug overdose decedents were more likely to be male (67.0%) and 25–34 years old (27.8%), most intentional drug overdose decedents were female (54.9%) and 45–54 years old (26.3%). Regarding circumstances, a larger proportion of unintentional drug overdose decedents had a substance abuse problem (86.2% versus 27.3%), while a larger proportion of intentional drug overdose decedents had a mental health condition (78.9% versus 43.3%). Toxicology differences were noted; antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines were identified as a cause of death in a higher proportion of intentional drug overdose deaths, while cocaine and opioids were identified in more unintentional drug overdose deaths.
Conclusion Examining drug overdose trajectories by intent can better inform interventions by targeting diverse prevention strategies to the appropriate populations.
Significance A better understanding of drug overdose trajectories by intent could provide evidence to guide the data-driven decision making surrounding the development and implementation of evidence-based policies, programs, and interventions.
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