The number of people in Hancock County who died from an overdose doubled from 2016 to 2017.
In 2016, 15 people died from overdoses. In 2017, 30 people died, according to final figures for the year from Hancock Public Health.
Blanchard Valley Hospital also treated 297 nonfatal overdoses at the emergency room in 2017, said Krista Pruitt of Hancock Public Health.
So far this year, Pruitt said, four overdose deaths have been confirmed, and 14 more suspected overdose deaths are awaiting coroner’s reports.
The surge in overdose deaths is “not just us, it’s really across the state,” Pruitt said.
Overdose deaths have risen in the past few years due to the opiate epidemic in Ohio.
Unintentional drug overdoses killed 4,050 Ohioans in 2016, a 32.8 percent increase from 2015, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
In 2017 reports from Hancock County Coroner Dr. Mark Fox, some form of opiate was listed as the cause of death in most overdose deaths. Often, opiates were combined with another drug, such as cocaine or alcohol.
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