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Hamilton County coroner: Opiate-related overdose deaths just keep rising

Coroner: Opiate overdose deaths just keep rising
Coroner: Opiate overdose deaths just keep rising
Posted at 1:21 PM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 07:37:11-04

CINCINNATI -- Opiate-related overdose deaths are on the rise in Hamilton County.

That was the message from Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco in a news conference Monday. She discussed the county's 2016 overdose statistics.

The coroner's office recorded 100 more opiate-related overdose deaths in 2016 than 2015, Sammarco said -- and 342 of the 403 overdoses in 2016 involved at least one kind of opiate.

In 2015, 414 people died from an overdose, Sammarco said, and she estimates 240 of those involved opiates.

The number of overdose deaths has nearly doubled over the last four years; overdose deaths have jumped from 204 in 2012 to 403 in 2016, according to data from the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office.

The coroner’s office has already recorded hundreds of overdoses in the first four months of 2017.

“This year to date, we already have 221 suspected drug overdoses in Hamilton County,” Sammarco said.

The overdose statistics, Sammarco said, represent people who have died in Hamilton County. Not all of the numbers represent county residents.

Sammarco said Narcan has saved a “considerable” amount of people in Hamilton County over the last several years.

The availability of the drug -- whether it be with family members or first responders -- has helped curb opiate-related overdose deaths, she said.

In 2015, first responders administered 2,000 doses (or 4,700 milligrams) of Narcan in Hamilton County, according to the Cincinnati Fire Department. First responders used 6,500 milligrams in 2016, Sammarco said.

For resources and more heroin-related coverage, go to wcpo.com/heroin.