14 fatal overdoses in Warren County last month, prosecutor says

14 fatal overdoses in Warren County last month
Posted at 7:52 PM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 10:18:55-05

MASON, Ohio -- Warren County had 14 overdose deaths in January, according to the prosecutor.

"2017 is not off to a good start," Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell wrote in the post.

The heroin epidemic that has devastated rural areas in the Midwest shows few signs of slowing down -- and the deadly rise of fentanyl and carfentanyl means that users increasingly run the risk of losing their lives before they are able to enter treatment.

"It's an overwhelming feeling to hear that there are so many people out there struggling with this addiction," said John Mallery, who supervises outpatient treatment at Lindner Center of HOPE's location in Mason. "The severity of the use and the overdose frequency now -- you can't get to people in time."

The majority of the center's 240 patients, Mallery said, come from Warren County. According to the county coroner’s office, 59 people died of opioid overdoses between January and December 2016 -- a troubling figure that 2017 is already on track to outpace.

"The risk is higher now because (heroin users) are chasing an even stronger high," Mallery said.

For Adelina Jones, whose son Sidney died of an overdose in 2015, the figures are saddening but not surprising.

"I hate to say it, but I'm not," she said.