Overdoses in Mahoning County tripled in January, compared to 2016


YOUNGSTOWN

The Mahoning County Coroner’s Office saw 12 drug-overdose death cases in January 2017, compared with only four in the same month last year, commissioners were told Thursday.

But Dr. Joseph Ohr, forensic pathologist and deputy coroner, said the heroin epidemic imposes consequences and costs far beyond the coroner’s office.

“The coroner’s office is just sort of the tip of the iceberg,” Dr. Ohr said.

“When I see 12 people who have died, that’s a lot. I predict a lot of heroin deaths this year,” he added.

There were 91 drug-overdose death cases in the coroner’s office in 2016.

Beyond the costs to the coroner’s office, the costs imposed by the heroin epidemic on the taxpayers and the health care system are staggering, he said.

“Every time the EMS [emergency medical services] people go out in the field and spend $20 on Narcan to revive somebody, it’s not $20 of your health insurance money; it’s $1,200 of your health insurance money when that person is revived by the EMS people, taken to the ER [emergency room] and then monitored at the ER,” Dr. Ohr explained.

Law enforcement and prosecutors are now aggressively pursuing prosecution of drug dealers, further increasing costs to the taxpayers, he noted.

In other business, the commissioners voted to pay $15,946 to Vendrick Construction Inc. of Brookfield for removal of debris from the county’s new dog shelter construction site.

Read more about the matters in Friday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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