COLUMBUS, Ohio – The state says a record number of Ohioans died from heroin-related overdoses in 2012 as it released the newest available figures for a problem that's been called an epidemic and public health crisis.
The Department of Health says 680 people died of heroin overdoses in 2012, up from 426 deaths in 2011, a 37 percent increase.
The heroin increase also drove the overall number of fatal drug overdoses to a new record of 1,272 deaths in 2012, up from 1,154 the previous year.
The state said Friday the number of fatal prescription painkiller overdoses decreased for the first time since 2003, a drop attributed to a statewide crack down on pill mills.
Heroin addiction has been increasing as addicts turn to the cheaper and more readily available drug.