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County had 132 fatal overdoses in 2017 -- same number as in 2016

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OBERLIN — There were 132 deaths related to drug overdoses in 2017.

Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans said that number is equal to the number of fatal overdoses in the county in 2016. He said the number had been in the mid-60s from 2012 to 2015, but it more than doubled in 2016.

“That’s how we knew we were facing an opioid crisis,” Evans said. “I was hoping that number would go down this past year.”

Evans said many of the deaths involved more than one drug. Statistics on the combinations of drugs was not available. Out of the 132 deaths, 111 involved opioids. Fentanyl was found in 46 of the people who died. Other powerful painkillers, such as carfentanyl, were found in 48 people, and heroin was found in 46 people. Cocaine was involved in 66 of the deaths.

“The ’90s were the last time cocaine was prevalent (in overdose deaths),” he said. “I think dealers are cutting that into the heroin or other drugs.”

Evans said that like cocaine, most heroin is snorted, which allows for an 80 to 85 percent absorption rate. Once a user builds up a tolerance, the user might opt for injection, which has a 95 percent absorption rate.

Men accounted for 95 of the fatal overdoses, while the remaining 37 were women.

Those who fatally overdosed ranged in age from the 20s into the 70s.

The coroner’s office statistics show 25 people in their 20s, 34 people in their 30s, 38 people in their 40s, 22 people in their 50s, 11 people in their 60s and two people in their 70s died of overdoses in 2017.

“We see people of all ages die from using drugs,” Evans said. “I had one guy in his mid-70s who did heroin with his grandson and died.”

Contact Cindy Breda at 329-7126 or cbreda@chroniclet.com.



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