By Wayne Allen
On Thursday, Scioto County Coroner Dr. Darren Adams released the 2013 drug death figures.
Adams said when compared with 2012 figures, the 2013 direct drug deaths have increased from 15 to 18 and the drug-related deaths stayed the same at 13.
“It is interesting to note that direct deaths from heroin increased from two in 2012 to four in 2013. Multiple drug deaths involving heroin increased from two in 2012 to five in 2013,” Adams said. “Direct and drug-related deaths for 2012 included seven ethanol intoxication related deaths, and for 2013 the number included nine ethanol intoxication related deaths.”
Lisa Roberts, a public health nurse with the Portsmouth City Health Department, said she was not surprised by some of the numbers, but called them stable.
“The United States is going though a major public health epidemic related to heroin. The vast majority of those people (heroin addicts) were addicted to pain medication,” Roberts said. “Heroin has become such a replacement drug, Heroin can be fatal and you really do not know what your getting with it all of the time. Just about everyone who is now using heroin was already addicted to oxycodone.”
Roberts then pointed out the success the health department has seen with their naloxone and needle exchange programs.
“We’ve had 26 overdose reversals with naloxone and that’s helpful,” Roberts said.
Comparing the 2013 drug deaths in Scioto County to years past: in 2003 there were 12 direct drug deaths and 16 drug-related deaths, In 2004 there were 15 direct drug deaths and 20 drug-related deaths, 2005 there were 20 direct drug deaths and 16 drug-related deaths. In 2006 there were 21 direct drug deaths and four drug-related deaths, in 2007 there were 21 direct drug deaths and six drug-related deaths. In 2008 there were 21 direct drug deaths and 23 drug-related deaths. In 2009 there were 22 direct drug deaths and 12 drug-related deaths. In 2010 there were 23 direct drug deaths and 20 drug-related deaths. In 2011 there were 22 direct drug deaths and 10 drug-related deaths. In 2012 there were 15 direct drug deaths and 13 drug-related deaths.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.