Columbus, OH,
16:36 PM

FOX28: Columbus doctor teaching the risks of opioid addiction

According to the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (Ohio ACEP), someone in Ohio dies from a drug overdose every 2 hours and 52 minutes – that's eight people every day. In fact, accidental drug overdoses now surpass car accidents as the number one cause of injury-related deaths in the state.

Ryan Squier, MD, an emergency physician who works in emergency departments throughout the OhioHealth system, is collaborating with the Ohio ACEP to combat Ohio’s opiate and heroin epidemic, by leading discussions at area schools. In the emergency departments, Dr. Squier sees overdose victims from Columbus and its surrounding suburbs and is working to educate high school students and their parents about the effects of these highly addictive drugs. He recently visited FOX28’s “Good Day Columbus” and spoke with anchor Shawn Ireland about this epidemic.

“It’s an endless cycle of addiction,” Dr. Squier told Ireland. “People feel like they can’t function a daily life. I hear, ‘I’m just using so I can feel normal so that I can get through my day.’”

Deaths from overdose continue to rise. According to the Ohio ACEP, in 2015, accidental drug overdose killed over 3,000 people in Ohio, the highest number on record. This is a 20% increase in overdose fatalities from 2014 While the figures for 2016 have not yet been released, Dr. Squier suspects they will be even higher. Nationwide, ten times as many people died from opiate overdoses in 2014 as died in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States.

In the presentation that Dr. Squier gives to high school students and their families, he notes that many teens use opiates for the first time in the form of a prescription. While they can help control pain that may be severe and acute, their use must be limited and controlled. He suggests that parents actively manage their teen’s medications and ensure appropriate safeguards of these drugs in the home.

To see Dr. Squier's conversation with Shawn Ireland, click here, or click the "Good Day Columbus" logo to the right.