Coroner’s office says Trumbull overdose deaths spiked this month


11 suspected so far in July

Staff report

WARREN

The Trumbull County Coroner’s office has confirmed that there has been a significant spike in overdose deaths in July, but Mahoning County reported no such increase this month.

Kathy Meszaros, chief investigator for Coroner Dr. Thomas James, said there were 11 suspected overdose deaths in Trumbull County so far in July.

The county averaged just over four overdose deaths per month the first six months of the year (25), but the number started to rise in June when there were five confirmed overdose deaths and three more suspected overdose deaths.

In 2017, Trumbull County had 135 overdose deaths, an average of more than 11 per month.

Lt. Greg Hoso, commander of the Street Crimes Unit of the Warren Police Department, said he believes the fluctuations in overdose deaths are partly the result of changes in the potency of the drugs coming into the area.

He said he’s seen toxicology results from overdose deaths recently that contain various forms of synthethic fentanyl that are different from formulations he has seen in the the past.

Hoso said he thinks public awareness and greater availability of the opiate-reversal drug naloxone have lowered the overall overdose-death rate.

Mahoning County did not experience a similar spike this month, according to preliminary numbers provided by the county coroner’s office.

The county coroner recorded five unintentional overdose deaths this month, compared with 10 in July 2017.

The overall numbers for the year are down, as well.

Mahoning County has had 56 confirmed overdose deaths through July 30, compared with 66 at that time last year.

Octavious Jones, a coroner investigator, said it’s hard to say why the numbers have dropped, but also noted news reports about overdoses and dangerous drugs as well as increased availability of overdose-reversal drug naloxone could be factors.

“If you speak with [Youngs-town police] or some of the ambulance services, I know they’ve been getting overdoses. They just haven’t been dying from them,” he said.

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