COLUMBUS -- The state says Ohio hit another record for the number of people dying from drug overdose deaths, with more than 1,700 such overdose fatalities in 2011.
The Ohio Department of Health blames the 1,765 deaths on the state's continuing prescription painkiller epidemic along with a continued rise in heroin abuse.
The state says nearly five Ohioans died every day in 2011 from accidental drug overdoses, part of a 14-percent increase in deaths from 2010.
The Health Department says multiple drug use is a major contributing factor, with more than two of every three deaths involving more than one drug.
The dire statistics come at a time when Ohio has launched numerous efforts to crack down on illegal prescription painkiller use and distribution.
AP Legal Affairs Writer
The Associated Press