COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — Before the pandemic hit Central Ohio, overdose deaths were slowly rising. The Franklin County coroner said that number is skyrocketing and is worried it won’t be slowing down any time soon.
“Unfortunately, it looks like we have surpassed the 554 from last year by August of this year,” said the Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz.
There has been a 65% increase in overdose fatalities compared to 2019, according to Ortiz.
“It saddens me every day that I have to see two, three, sometimes four, and this week has almost been three or four a day that have come in,” she said, referring to the number of autopsies related to drug overdoses.
The high number of overdoses has been happening amid a global pandemic.
“Addiction is a disease of despair and there’s a lot more despair lately in terms of unemployment and the isolation,” said Ortiz.
She said what’s startling is that there are more overdose deaths among the Latino and African American communities compared to years past.
“We’re seeing more and more cocaine and methamphetamine mixed with fentanyl and they’re unaware that their stash has fentanyl in it,” said Ortiz.
The concerning numbers pose the question, "is there any hope to see this upward trend go down?". Ortiz believes so.
She said it starts at home reaching out to loved ones or professional help like the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance.
You can find out more information on how to get help here. ABC 6/FOX 28 will continue to follow the latest on the opioid crisis.