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Local opioid deaths up, but not at record levels

Published: Oct. 17, 2021 at 5:49 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 17, 2021 at 7:45 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - The nation saw a record number of deaths due to drug overdoses during the first 12 months of the pandemic.

So far, that’s not the trend in Wood County.

County Coroner Mike St. Clair tells us Wood County’s overdose death numbers are up from last year. But so far, the number is still below the total number for 2019.

In 2020, the number of deaths declined sharply from the year before, in spite of the effects of the pandemic.

”As we see more and more treatment facilities open-which is good-it hasn’t effectively changed the numbers yet,” St. Clair told us.

“Carry a naloxone rescue kit,” Dr. Trent Hall, Addiction Medicine Specialist, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center told CNN, “as you can see here this something we can all carry around and in the event somebody who’s experiencing an overdose, you can save a life.”

Nationally, more than 96,000 deaths were reported from March of 2020 to this past March. According to the Centers for Disease Control, that’s a new record.

The CDC says most of the overdose deaths were due to opioid abuse.

Wood County reported 31 deaths for all of 2020-a drop from 45 deaths the year before.

But with less than three months to go in 2021, St. Clair says 35 people have suffered overdose deaths this year.

He says drugs, including opioids, appear to be an outlet for some people also dealing with COVID-19 issues.

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