Experts compare national overdose spike to local trend

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – U.S. leaders say an estimated 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in one year. That’s a total the nation has never seen.

Brenda Heidinger works with the Mahoning County Recovery Board, which has started programs to try and reduce overdoses. Peer Recovery Specialists share their stories and talk with others about getting through it, and 300 Narcan kits have been distributed to the public this year, not counting the ones to police and fire departments.

“The significance is after the peak of overdose deaths from heroin in 2017, we’re starting to see another increase, but what we are finding in Mahoning County is we’re only slightly up. We’re not as high as some of the federal numbers would indicate,” Heidinger said.

Mahoning County has had 120 confirmed overdose deaths so far this year. It had 140 last year. Trumbull County had 57 confirmed through June, up from 49 in the first half last year and 50 two years ago.

Experts believe the national increase could be tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and a more dangerous drug supply. The number jumped over 28% (28.5%) in the last year and includes possibly 75,673 opioid deaths.

“Partially Covid, partially people being alone, which can be the enemy of recovery,” Heidinger said.

The new data shows many of the deaths involve fentanyl.

Finding more answers to the problem of overdoses, will take time.

“We’d love to see the number lower. It’s good to know we’re not climbing as much as some people or some areas of the country, and we’re able to mitigate some of that,” Heidinger said.

One possible help is that since we can gather in groups again, meaning some people will have someone to talk to.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf Wednesday encouraged people to have Narcan on hand in case anyone overdoses.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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