WILMINGTON — Drug overdoses continued to be a leading cause of death in 2021 in Clinton County, with 20 substance-use deaths, according to a draft of the Clinton County Health District (CCHD) annual report.

Drug overdoses ranked fifth among the leading causes of deaths that occurred last year in Clinton County.

Cardiovascular (heart) disease remained at the top of the list with 92 deaths; cancer stayed in the second spot with 84 deaths (which were the most cancer deaths here for at least five years); and COVID-19 finished as the third leading cause with 49 deaths.

Note that the local health district’s annual report is based on the death certificates filed in Clinton County, which is to say the report only includes deaths that actually occur in the county. So overall, according to the state of Ohio, a total of 87 Clinton County residents died of COVID-19 related causes in 2021.

The CCHD report breaks down the drug overdose deaths by gender and race, by drug type, and by age range. Of the 20 deaths, 14 were white males, four were white females, and two were Black males.

Concerning the types of drugs — note some deaths involved more than one drug — fentanyl and its analogs were involved in 17 of the 20 overdose deaths.

Amphetamine and/or methamphetamine were present in nine of the deaths.

Seventeen of the 20 overdose deaths occurred in people who were in the age range of 35 to 64.

All the overdose deaths in the county were classified as accidental overdoses.

Drug overdose deaths last year in Clinton County decreased by three compared to the prior year.

An overview of the 84 local cancer fatalities that occurred here last year shows 28 lung/bronchus cancer deaths, 10 people dying of colon/rectum cancer, and four different types of cancer claiming five lives each: breast, prostate, pancreas, and oral/pharyngeal.

Finishing fourth on the 2021 list of leading causes of local deaths is cerebrovascular disease (such as stroke, carotid stenosis and aneurysms) which ended 22 lives.

There were five suicide deaths in the county last year, and four people were killed in motor vehicle crashes.

As for communicable diseases — meaning diseases that can be transmitted from one person to another — the Clinton County Health Department last year investigated 5,322 reportable communicable diseases, with 5,058 of those being COVID-19 cases. The CCHD’s Communicable Disease Control Program includes monitoring, tracking and investigating those diseases.

The Communicable Disease Control Program statistics also indicate 58 local cases of Hepatitis C (the lowest in at least five years), 19 cases of Hepatitis B and no cases of Hepatitis A; two influenza-associated hospitalizations (down from 20 the prior year); one case of Legionnaires Disease for at least the sixth straight year; no new HIV infections or AIDS cases for the third year in a row; and for sexually transmitted diseases, there were 119 cases of chlamydia, 26 cases of gonorrhea and six cases of syphilis.

The health district’s Environmental Health Division includes a plumbing program to ensure that safe and adequate plumbing is installed in Clinton County. Last year, there were 70 commercial plumbing plans approved in the county compared to 24 the year before.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.


By Gary Huffenberger

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