COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz has released the preliminary report for overdose fatalities in the first nine months of 2020, and it shows that fentanyl was a main contributor.

The preliminary report shows that 45% more overdose deaths happened in 2020 than during the same period in 2019, and a whopping 86% of the 2020 deaths were due in part to fentanyl.

Next to fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine caused the most number of overdose deaths.

The highest number of overdose deaths occurred among never-married white men aged 35-44.

Key takeaways of the report:

  • Methamphetamine fatalities increased by 5% over 2019.
  • Use of veterinary sedative xylazine was up in 2020 and is blamed for 3.4% of overdose deaths compared with 2.1% in 2019.
  • 52.9% of overdose deaths were in the 25-44 age group. 
  • The most common areas for overdose fatalities were in the following ZIP codes: 43223, 43207, 43204, 43232, and 43211.

Ortiz reports that the rise in overdose fatalities has prompted the Centers for Disease Control to send out a health advisory to physicians.

To save lives, the CDC says naloxone (Narcan) use and education should be expanded, treatment should be readily available for those who are addicted, and overdose outbreaks must be identified and monitored faster.

Ortiz says fentanyl test strips and safe needle exchanges will also help to prevent overdose deaths.