Overdose Deaths Peaked, Declining
By Nancy Bowman
Miami County health officials said they believe there are a "multitude of reasons" for the decline in overdose deaths and overdoses overall as the year 2017 progressed. The year 2017, however, set a record for overdose deaths.
County Coroner William Ginn, MD, listed in his annual report for 2017 the number of confirmed overdose deaths at 31 with two others suspected but pending final test results.
The deaths were up from 20 in 2016, which was the previous record year in Miami County for overdose deaths.
The county saw a record 25 overdose deaths in the first six months of 2017 before a decline in deaths monthly the rest of the year.
"I don't believe there is any one thing," Dennis Propes, county health commissioner said of the declines and a review of the county data by himself and Janel Hodges, health department epidemiologist.
"We hope it has something to do with the efforts we (The Miami County Heroin Coalition) are doing, but we know the drugs of choice are changing from heroin to meth and other factors are in play," Propes said.
Fentanyl use still is taking place, and it is being mixed "with everything," Propes said.
He said the county heroin coalition, at work since early 2016, will continue its work "to combat this epidemic."
The health department last year began a program distributing Narcan kits through Project Dawn (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone). The program continues. More information is available at www.miamicountyhealth.net.
The county started 2017 with 102 overdoses in January with similar numbers for a few months before a decline was seen during the second half of the year.
The overdose numbers were based on emergency department visits. The report includes overdoses by opioids along with those used in suicide attempts, adverse reactions to normal medications or accidental overdoses of over the counter drugs. Cases involving deaths and treatment refusals encountered by first responders are not included in those numbers.
Overdose deaths in Miami County:
* 31 confirmed/two pending confirmation
(Source: Miami County Public Health)