Local organizations struggle to keep up as northwest Ohio sees record number of overdose deaths

Overdose deaths have jumped from 8 to 556 in 11 years.
Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 7:51 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Lucas County and Northwest Ohio are reporting a record number of overdose deaths this year.

Numbers released by the Lucas County Coroner’s Office show in 2010, there were eight overdose deaths in the 20 Northwest Ohio counties.

In 2021, there have been 556.

According to Dr. Robert Forney, the toxicologist at the Lucas County Coroner’s office, the vast majority of those overdose deaths were white males between the age of 28 and 48.

While there are still a large number of women and minorities overdosing as well, Dr. Forney said, “We haven’t seen the end of this. There are millions on the street who haven’t died yet. But the stuff on the street is getting more and more potent.”

Ashley Kopaniase, senior substance use director at Zepf Center, said, “At one point it was heroin, and then we saw carfentanyl, and lately we’ve been seeing more fentanyl than anything else, and we’re seeing methamphetamines mixed in.”

Olivia Ehret, clinical inpatient director at Midwest Recovery Center in Maumee, said the deadly street cocktail of lethal drugs is sending people scrambling to rehab centers looking for any chance to treat their addiction.

“We cannot keep up,” she said. “All of our beds are full. Our intake team is doing probably 20 to 30 intakes a day.”

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