© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
WOSP-FM 91.5 Portsmouth is off the air. In the meantime listen online or with the WOSU mobile app.

More Than 500 People Died From Overdoses In Franklin County Last Year

Jacquelyn Martin
Associated Press
Just a small amount of fentanyl can cause a fatal overdose. Fentanyl has led to more drug deaths in Franklin County and across the country.

The Franklin County Coroner's office released preliminary numbers on overdose deaths in 2017 in the county. Last year, 520 people died from drug overdoses, up 47 percent from the year before. 

In comparison, Franklin County saw 353 drug overdoses in 2016. Coroner Anahi Ortiz attributes the uptick to the synthetic opioid fentanyl. 

"When its used illicitly like this, either mixed with heroin or on its own, it's a lot more potent than heroin or any of the other opiates we see out there," Ortiz says.

She says that potency, paired with the increased popularity of the drug, accounts for the largest chunk of overdose deaths in the county in 2017. 

And though opioid prescriptions are down, deaths have not dipped with them.

"The amount of prescriptions for opiates has decreased," Ortiz says. "However, folks are using other methods to obtain opiates, rather than prescription."

The five zip codes with the highest numbers of overdoses are 43211, 43204, 43223, 43207 and 43232. Those include the areas of North Linden, the Hilltop, Franklinton, the South Side and Eastland.

Credit Franklin County Coroner

Other findings include an uptick in overdose deaths in women: 32 percent of the deaths in 2017 were women, compared to 22 percent the year before. More African-Americans were affected, although the majority of overdose deaths remain white males.

Credit Franklin County Coroner

A larger number of younger people were affected, too: 56 percent of the overdoses were people age 39 and younger, compared to 50 percent in 2016.

Credit Franklin County Coroner

In Ohio, CDC numbers show that 5,200 people died from drug overdoses between June 2016 and 2017.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.