Butler County Coroner reports rise in fentanyl-related deaths in 2016

Posted at 4:48 PM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 16:49:11-05

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio -- Of the cases investigated by the Butler County Coroner in 2016, drug overdoses were a leading cause of death, according to a report from Butler County Coroner Dr. Lisa K. Mannix.

Though the coroner does not investigate all deaths, overdose deaths increased for the third straight year, particularly those involving heroin and fentanyl.

Drug overdoses accounted for 42 percent of the cases investigated by the Coroner’s Office, according to the report. Of the 453 cases investigated,192 were drug related. 

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Heroin in the Tri-State

Of the 192 drug-related deaths, 153, or 80 percent, were heroin or fentanyl related, according to the coroner’s report.

Dorothy McIntosh Shuemake knows exactly how heroin can tear a family apart.

Her daughter, Ally, overdosed in 2016.

“My husband realized that meant there were 189 sets of parents grieving the way we were,” she said. “More than that of course. The depth of the pain it’s almost unbelievable. You can’t imagine it if you haven’t suffered it.”

Mannix said of the 153 heroin or fentanyl-related deaths, 71 percent involved either fentanyl mixed with heroin, straight fentanyl or one of its derivatives. Four of the deaths were attributed to carfentanil and one to furanylfentanyl.

“The Coroner’s office continues to see high numbers of drug overdose deaths. However, the trend in 2016 is more toward fentanyl, as well as the other more potent and deadly derivatives of fentanyl” Mannix said in a statement.

The Butler County Health Department is offering free classes and Narcan kits from Project DAWN, an overdose education and naloxone distribution program.

You can make an appointment for one of the classes at the Butler County Health Department or by calling 513-863-1770.