Coroner: Overdose deaths through March up from 2018 in Franklin County

DOJ Opioids_1535552807764

A reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly after a news conference about deaths from fentanyl exposure, at DEA Headquarters in Arlington Va., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

COLUMBUS (AP) — The coroner for the county that includes Ohio’s capital city says the number of fatal overdoses during the first three months of 2019 grew from the total for the same period last year.

Franklin County Coroner Anahi Ortiz on Thursday reported preliminary figures of 120 overdoses from Jan. 1 through March 31.

Ortiz says that’s an 8% increase from the same three months in 2018. She says the deaths continue to be driven by opioids, including fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller.

Fatal overdoses attributed to carfentanil, an opioid more powerful than fentanyl, increased slightly. The coroner says cocaine-related deaths also rose.

Ohio saw a record 4,854 unintentional fatal overdoses in 2017, the most recent year for which statewide data is available.

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