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Solution is matter of life and death

Ohio is becoming a deadlier place to live, according to data from the state health department and analyzed in a report by the Ohio Capital Journal. Last year saw the highest number of fatal overdoses, gun deaths, homicides and motor vehicle fatalities in the past 15 years. It was also the third-worst year on record for suicides in Ohio.

Numbers show a 51 percent increase in deaths of working-age Ohioans over the past 15 years.

“The mortality falls into the category of what sociologists call ‘deaths of despair’ — often indicators of larger ills around economics, access to health care, economic and geographic mobility, racial inequalities and other complex societal problems,” the Capital Journal reported.

“One thing that’s particularly troubling is that these causes of death are largely preventable,” Amy Bush Stevens, vice president of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, told the Capital Journal. “There are effective things that we can be doing to reverse these.”

Among those solutions are better tools to both truly tackle (rather than throwing money at without regard for effectiveness) the substance abuse epidemic in our state, and reduce the harm for addicts; reducing the stigma surrounding mental health challenges, and increasing access to care; genuinely working to grow and diversify our economy for all regions; providing quality, relevant public education and higher education opportunities; and kicking out of office those politicians who are actively working to damage our state by driving it backward toward socio-cultural norms that generally have been understood to be wrong for more than a century.

Not an easy fix, is it? No, it is easier for elected officials and bureaucrats to find one or two headliner targets at which to hurl funding so they can claim they are working to improve quality of life here and give us hope.

We can’t afford to let them get away with it any more. It is killing us.

editorial@vindy.com

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