COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A newspaper survey of Ohio county coroners has found more than 4,000 people died from drug overdoses last year in a state among the hardest hit by a heroin and opioid epidemic.
The Columbus Dispatch reports the state’s 4,149 unintentional fatal overdoses in 2016 are a 36 percent increase from the previous year when just over 3,000 deaths were reported.
The newspaper says Ohio led the nation in fatal overdoses in 2014 and 2015.
The increase is being attributed to heroin and the powerful synthetic opioids fentanyl and carfentanil. Last year’s total is expected to go higher as coroners tabulate final numbers.
Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, far outpaced the rest of the state with 666 deaths in 2016. The majority of those deaths are connected to fentanyl use.