COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Franklin County Coroner says there was an increase of overdose deaths in the area during the first nine months of 2019.
According to Franklin County Coroner, Dr. Anahi Ortiz, between January 1 to September 30 of 2019, 421 people died of overdoses. This is a 15% increase from the same time period in 2018.
Opiate-related deaths accounted for 90% of overdose deaths for the first three quarters of 2019, with fentanyl accounting for 83.6% of all overdose deaths, according to Ortiz.
Carfentanil-related overdose deaths accounted for 3.5%, and heroin-related deaths accounted for 7.6% of all overdose deaths.
Cocaine, methamphetamine and cocaine with fentanyl related overdose deaths:
· Cocaine: 40.8%,
· Methamphetamines: 10.6%
· Cocaine + Fentanyl: 35%
Of those who died, 28% were African American, 67% were Caucasian, 3% Hispanic, 1% Asian and 1% other.
The number of males dying of overdoses continues to be higher than that of females. For the first three quarters of 2019 we saw 69.4% of males dying and 30.6% of females.
In terms of age the highest number of those who died of overdoses were between 30 and 49 years of age.
The five zip codes with the highest number of overdose deaths for this period were: 43211, 43207, 43229, 43204, and 43232.
The numbers are disturbing to Rachel Huddleston, who knows first hand what it feels like to overdose.
“I’ve overdosed twice. And once in front of my children,” said Huddleston.
That’s one of the most hurtful memories from Huddleston’s past. She is now clean from heroin. She turned her life around and is thankful she’s not a statistic.
“I’m a junior at Ohio State University. I was convinced I was going to die from drug addiction,” Huddleston said. “I would never be anything else.”
Years ago, she went from graduating Walnut Ridge High School with straight As to using heroin and getting arrested.
It took her nearly losing her kids to kick her addiction.
The latest statistics from the Franklin County Coroner’s Office doesn’t come as a shock.
“(My daughters) were almost adopted out. I maintained custody for the past five years, but I took my daughter’ though my addiction. It was rough,” said Huddleston.
Programs like Maryhaven continue to show addicts another way.
“Maryhaven was created in response to this epidemic,” said Andrew Moss, with Maryhaven, a drug treatment center with several facilities around central Maryland.
Moss sees the horrible effects addiction has on families.
“Overdoses affect everybody. It doesn’t discriminate based on age, race, social, and economic background. Country of origin. It really can affect anybody,” said Moss.
He said getting help with addiction is a personal choice and you shouldn’t let the lack of money stop you from reaching out.
Huddleston went through several programs before getting clean. Now she’s giving back and speaking about her personal experience with addiction and how to overcome it.
She said she can’t say for a fact that she will stay clean forever, but for now, she’s taking it day by day. Through God, and her four daughters, she’s inspired to keep moving forward and not look back.
“I love my life today. I have good relationships. I love myself. I am a better person today. Not that dark terrible person. I was doing terrible things and I don’t ever want to be that person again,” said Huddleston.
For help with addiction, contact https://maryhaven.com/