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Prescription Drug Abuse as a Public Health Problem in Ohio: A Case Report


Correspondence to:

Erin L. Winstanley, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 3210 Jefferson Avenue, Suite 6, Cincinnati, OH 45220. E-mail:


Prescription drug overdose is the leading cause of injury death in Ohio, as well as in 16 other states. Responding to the prescription drug epidemic is particularly challenging given the fragmentation of the health care system and that the consequences of addiction span across systems that have not historically collaborated. This case study reports on how Ohio is responding to the prescription drug epidemic by developing cross-system collaboration from local public health nurses to the Governor's office. In summary, legal and regulatory policies can be implemented relatively quickly whereas changing the substance abuse treatment infrastructure requires significant financial investments.