Scioto County loses life to cancer, heart disease, opiates

By Nikki Blankenship

Scioto County Candor


The recent County Health Rankings and Roadmaps as provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation revealed that Scioto County continues to be among the most unhealthy of counties in the state. However, information from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) help to pinpoint some of the exact causes of shortened life expectancy in Scioto County.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation data determines life expectancy and premature death by number of years lost. The findings are that Scioto County has lost 10,000 years of life due to premature death. This rate is nearly twice the rate of the nation.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Premature Mortality includes all deaths among people under age 75 and the rates are age-adjusted to the US 2000 population.”

The data also shows that the leading causes of death in Scioto County are cancer, heart disease, accidental death and respiratory disease.

The ODH reported that an average of 468 new invasive cancer cases and 201 deaths occurred each year among Scioto County residents from 2010-2014. Both cancer incidence rates and mortality rates in Scioto County surpassed the state and national figures.

“The leading sites/types of cancer incidence in Scioto County in 2010- 2014 were lung and bronchus, female breast, prostate, colon and rectum, and thyroid, representing 55 percent of all invasive cancer cases,” the ODH reported. “The leading sites/types of cancer mortality in Scioto County in 2010- 2014 were lung and bronchus, colon and rectum, pancreas, female breast and prostate, representing 60 percent of all cancer deaths.”

Though the most common types of cancer and the most common cancer killers differed some, the leading types of cancer and the types that lead to death were lung and bronchus cancers. The two types of cancers were also found to have the highest rates of late stage tumors. However, skin cancer and other major cancers were also a concern for the area.

High rates of heart disease and stroke may also be linked to the county’s high rates of obesity, smoking and even drug use, which is the leading cause of accidental death in Scioto County. IHME data by sex shows that for every 100,000 population, 230.7 women in Scioto County die of heart disease. In comparison, the Ohio rate is 135.6, and the national rate is 124.9. Heart disease is an even greater concern for men, with the county rate for men being 305 in comparison with 210.7 for the state and 191.5 for the nation. Close to 30 percent of the population of Scioto County smokes, and close to 45 percent are obese. Both figures are significantly greater than state and national percentages.

Additionally, Scioto County continues to be a hotspot for drug related deaths. According to the ODH for 2016, Scioto County had 35 overdose deaths for the year, the highest number of overdose deaths in county history. Based on population, the county’s overdose rate was 31.8 with Montgomery County having the highest overdose rate of 40. To no surprise, the leading causes of death related deaths were heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil.

For more information about health statistics for communities across Ohio, visit