For the first half of the year, there were four Clinton County drug overdose (OD) deaths reported. But before anybody declares a major turning point has been reached, they should know that of last year’s 22 total OD deaths, only five had occurred at the half-way point.
In fact, the second half of the year was worse here in all three full years of 2019, 2020, and 2021, according to data provided by the Clinton County Health District’s contract epidemiologist.
In 2019, a total of 18 people died in Clinton County from a drug overdose, 11 of whom died in the second half of the year. In 2020, there were 23 people in Clinton County who died from an overdose, 14 of whom died in the second half.
The consecutive second-half increases in OD deaths here may be part of a more widespread and long-term pattern. According to Clinton County Health District’s contract epidemiologist Don Brannen, PhD, who reviewed overdose deaths for the nation that occurred during two calendar years from a generation ago, “there does appear to be a stepwise incremental increase during the later part of the year using a 6-month moving average.”
In 2019 in Clinton County, the month with the most OD deaths was November, with four. In 2020 in Clinton County, the month with the most OD deaths was October, with five (April was next, with four). Last year in Clinton County, the month with the most OD deaths was July, with six (November and December last year each had three OD deaths here).
Brannen also provided the leading causes of Clinton County deaths for the first half of 2022. In order, the top three local causes of death through June of this year are, he said, heart disease, cancer, and COVID.
Clinton County deaths from various heart diseases numbered 67 in the first half of the year. Malignant neoplasms or cancer ended 45 lives in the county through June. And 35 people died from COVID in the county during the first half-year period.
Brannen had comments about the local death data.
Persons can reduce their risk for early death if they follow their doctor’s instructions to control their cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, said the epidemiologist.
If a person chooses healthy foods and drink, and gets regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight, then their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels will be improved, Brannen said.
He also said persons should work with their health care team to prevent or treat the medical conditions that lead to heart disease.
“Persons should discuss their treatment plan regularly and bring a list of questions to their appointments,” said Brannen.
He added people should discuss with their health care team about how heart disease and mental health issues are related.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.