DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Public Health Dayton & Montgomery County (PHDMC) is raising questions after seeing a 7.5 percent increase in overdose related deaths compared to 2022.

From June to July, PHDMC reported 87 overdose deaths. The number is leading health officials to find answers about the cause of the spike.

Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Executive Director Helen Jones-Kelley says that the cause of the increase is surprising. 

“So many people in so many communities are talking about it now,” said Jones-Kelley. “And we know the difficulties with fentanyl and carfentanil, but we’re seeing our spike with prescription opioid.”

County officials say that number was down in recent years, but is now on the rise. A large portion of the recent overdose deaths were related to prescription drugs that officials say normally come from a doctor; they can also be bought online.

Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck adds that his drug task force has seen an increase in Xylazine, an animal tranquilizer, on the streets.

“And it seems like once or twice a year we’re on on on the news talking to the media about trying to warn individuals that there’s this new drug that was never intended to be for human use, that that’s being used,” Streck said.

Xylazine is particularly deadly, because of its resistance to Narcan.  

Officials say they are providing resources to anyone struggling with addiction.. 

“You know, our only goal is to get someone to decide that they need help, that they need to go after services. We are still going to do everything in our power to put the people bringing this poison in behind bars and putting them into the criminal justice system,” said Streck.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction in Montgomery County, you can call ADAMHS’s 24-Hour Crisis Now Hotline 1-833-580-2855.