- By Chris Stewart Staff Writer
The opioid epidemic has yet to peak as more people are succumbing to drugs at a rate faster than even last year when all records were broken for overdose deaths.
The grim news has been confirmed by a number of county coroners and local officials, including in Miami County where more have died of overdoses not halfway into 2017 than during all of last year. Montgomery County likely will surpass 2016’s record-setting year by the end of June and with half the year remaining.
Alarming signs from 5 area counties:
Butler County: In just the first six weeks of 2017, 14 overdose deaths were confirmed by the Butler County Coroner’s Office and more were expected to be attributed to drugs. Last year 192 people died from overdoses in the county.
Clark County: Of the 110 total deaths investigated by the Clark County Coroner’s Office by mid-April, 54 were suspected to be accidental drug deaths, said Anita Biles, spokeswoman for the Clark County Combined Health District. The pace would surpass the record 79 overdose deaths last year.
Miami County: Twenty-three overdose deaths have been reported in just the first four months of this year, more than in all of 2016, said Miami County Coroner Dr. William Ginn.
Last year, 20 people died of overdoses in the county.
Montgomery County: As of May 16, about 300 bodies passed through the morgue’s doors due to overdose, according to officials. Last year, 349 people died of accidental drug overdoses. At the current rate, 700 to 800 people will be dead from drugs by the end of the year, said Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
Warren County: A reported 17 overdose deaths just six weeks into the year would represent a sharp increase over the county’s reported 66 drug deaths in 2016.