OBERLIN — The number of deaths related to drug overdoses in Lorain County is expected to exceed the total from last year, but county Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans said it’s still too soon to say by how much.
Overdose deaths have slowed over the last six months, he said, but the uptick in the first half of the year is enough to outpace last year’s total of 132 overdose deaths.
“We’re at least where we were last year, which is terrible,” Evans said.
The reason Evans can’t say exactly how many overdose deaths there were this year is because the lab is so overwhelmed by the different kinds of fentanyl on the streets and it takes much longer for complete tests on samples.
Evans said fentanyl is the leading cause of overdose deaths, followed by cocaine and then heroin.
Because the fentanyl is being made from different labs in China, Mexico and the United States, if the lab tests for “just plain fentanyl, it will come up negative,” Evans said.
Evans said the lab is backed up about a month, which is a first.
“I won’t have the results for this year probably until February,” Evans said.
He said there are about 10 new kinds of fentanyl coming out on a daily basis, which is costly because the lab has to tests substances over and over again.
He said police have an easier time identifying where the drugs are coming from because each kind of fentanyl is slightly different so authorities can track the specific drugs back to the dealer.
For Evans and his office though, the ordeal of testing and retesting substances is frustrating.
“We’re having a lot of trouble right now because it’s all these designer drugs we haven’t seen in years,” he said.
- County had 132 fatal overdoses in 2017 -- same number as in 2016
- Old, new drugs creating deadly mixtures to raise Ohio tolls
- Elyria sees decrease in drug overdoses
- Countywide initiative to fight opioid epidemic
- Large amount of fentanyl found during domestic violence call
- 2. Opioid crisis continues to plague Lorain County
- Elyria police saw more ODs in 2017
- Lifesaver or distraction? Police split on anti-overdose drug
- Ohio awards $10M to boost opioid, addiction breakthroughs
- Ohio to name winners of up to $12 million in opioid science grants
- 'Take all their excuses away': Hard cases in heroin fight
- ‘It never really leaves you.’ Opioids haunt users’ recovery
- Lorain man indicted in overdose death
- 'It can happen to anyone'
- Ohio launches anti-opioid ad campaign to reduce prescribing
- Services address opioid epidemic
- Hospital revives toddler who tested positive for opioids
- Evans: 'Thinning the herd' unacceptable response to opioid epidemic
- Elyria police arrest suspected drug dealer in connection with apparent fatal overdose
- Fentanyl drives another record year of Ohio overdose deaths
- Troopers: Driver crashes after overdose
- Drug dealer involved in fatal overdose gets nine-year prison sentence
- Man pleads guilty to dumping overdosing woman in field
- Drugs, alcohol fuel rising Children Services workload
- Couple now grateful to Children Services
- 'Why did you do this to us'
- OPIOID OVERLOAD: County struggles as epidemic widens
- Akron school board votes to allow police officers to carry naloxone
- Lorain sues over opioid epidemic
- GOP Medicaid cuts would hit states fighting opioid epidemic -- including Ohio
- Reckless homicide charge dropped in body dumping; case headed to grand jury
- Recovery court participant overdoses at hearing
- Two men indicted after allegedly leaving woman to die in a field
- Overdose of dog leads to drug bust
- Overdose survivors cope with loss
- March, rally against heroin Saturday in Vermilion
- Judge helps to save man OD-ing outside her home
- Man indicted in connection to fatal heroin overdose
- Parents face drug charges after alleged overdose with children in tow
- Elyria safety crews respond to at least six ODs
- Three overdose deaths reported in county on Monday
- Police : Beating suspect likely overdosed
- Elyria man charged with fentanyl trafficking in connection with near fatal overdose
- Pregnant Avon Lake woman charged with heroin possession
- Man pickets, hoping for end to heroin deaths
- Fatal overdoses in Lorain County near 140 for 2016