Drug overdoses lead Butler County deaths in 2017

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Drug overdoses lead Butler County deaths in 2017

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Middletown police officers secure property, including a needle, after they responded to a drug overdose behind the Midd-Town Carry Out on Central Avenue Monday, June 26, in Middletown. More people are dying from drug overdoses than any other cause in Butler County, according to new data from the coroner. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

More people are dying from drug overdoses than any other cause in Butler County, according to new data from the coroner.

During the first four months of 2017, the coroner investigated 175 deaths in Butler County, according to a statement from Dr. Lisa Mannix’s office.

Of those 175 deaths, 96 were fatal drug overdoses.

In April alone, 30 people died of overdoses. Mannix said her office “has never seen that many deaths of any kind in a single month.”

“The numbers are staggering,” she said.

The remaining 175 deaths were natural deaths (36), suicides (21), undetermined (8), other accidents (7), motor vehicle crashes (4) and homicides (3).

The coroner’s office also said 83 percent of the fatal overdoses involved “illicit opiates,” like heroin, fentanyl or “more potent fentanyl derivitives.” Most fatal overdoses involved fentanyl; of those, 11 fentanyl overdoses involved carfentanil.

Mannix said 2016 saw the most drug overdoses in Butler County’s history with 192.

“If the trend for 2017 continues at its current rate, Butler County will see a 50 percent increase in total overdose deaths from 2016,” she said.

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