Coroner: ODs involving meth on the rise in Butler County

HAMILTON, Ohio -- The coroner has sobering statistics on methamphetamine making a comeback in Butler County.

Of the 178 people who overdosed in 2017, 30 had meth in their system, according to Butler County Coroner Dr. Lisa Mannix.

That number is up from the previous years, according to data from the coroner’s office. In 2015, 14 of the 189 overdoses in the county involved meth. The drug was present in 17 of the 192 overdoses in 2016.

Perry Gordon, properties custodian for the Oxford Police Department, said he’s seen the increase firsthand.

"I've seen more, I think, this year than last. That's for sure,” Gordon said.

Oxford Police Chief John Jones said the increase in meth is not astronomical, but officials have taken notice.

"I think we do run into people who if one drug is not available they try to find their escape into another drug,” Jones said.

The problem isn’t just in Butler County. Just last week, Franklin Fire Chief Jonathan Westendorf said use of meth is on the rise.

He said his department responded to two methamphetamine overdoses in 2016. Between April and October 2017, that number doubled nine times over.

Last year, Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil announced the seizure of 16.5 pounds of crystal methamphetamine; it was the largest seizure ever in the state of Ohio.

Jones hopes the answer to the drug epidemic lies in educating young people.

"I think we're looking for that magic wand, but I think it's a comprehensive approach to prevention -- starting early, starting young, making sure we understand the dangers of drug use,” he said.

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