Deadly drug overdoses in Ohio increase to record number

(Photo: MGN)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Information reported to the state shows fatal drug overdoses increased to a record 4,854 last year in Ohio, a 20 percent rise compared with the previous year.

The Columbus Dispatch reports data on unintentional drug deaths reported to Ohio's Department of Health show 2017 was the eighth year in a row that drug deaths increased. Ohio's county coroners logged 4,050 fatal overdoses in 2016.

A review of the data shows fentanyl continued to fuel the drug epidemic. The synthetic opioid accounted for nearly three-fourths of last year's overdose deaths.

A state Health Department spokesman says there was progress in reducing the number of prescription opioids available for abuse. Reported fatal overdoses from prescription opioids last year totaled 523, the lowest number in eight years.

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