FRANKLIN COUNTY (WCMH) – Dr. Nathaniel Overmire began his role as Franklin County Coroner at the beginning of 2023. Since taking the position, he said he has seen an increase in the number of lives taken by cocaine.

According to new data released by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime, cocaine production is at its highest level on record, with experts explaining the drug is seeing a post pandemic rebound.

“We unfortunately have seen a slight rise in cocaine related deaths in Franklin County,” Overmire said.

Data from the coroner’s office reveals while most local overdose deaths still involve fentanyl or fentanyl derivatives, the second highest substance found in overdose deaths is cocaine. The latest statistics available explain cocaine overdoses in Franklin County saw a 17% increase from 2021 to 2022.

“My job, my role is to bring attention to bring awareness,” Overmire said.

Overmire said that means sounding the alarm when national trends make their way onto the streets and in the bodies of those being held in his office.

“We so often think about overdoses as statistics and numbers,” Overmire said. “But there are real families behind these loved ones that passed away and it has a ripple effect in our community.”