Opioid Deaths in Marion County Drop

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Photo courtesy of the IU Public Policy Institute Photo courtesy of the IU Public Policy Institute

The Indiana University Public Policy Institute’s Center for Health and Justice Research has released a new report that shows a decrease in the number of accidental overdose deaths in Marion County. The figure also includes deaths that were opioid-related. 

Opioids were still reported to be present in 78 percent of the county’s 361 overdose deaths in 2018.  A synthetic opioid called Fentanyl appeared in 54 percent of the county’s overdose deaths. 

The report, which compared 2018 to 2017, found the number of deaths involving fentanyl increased 5 percent and the number involving meth grew 4 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of overdose deaths involving any opioid, prescription opioids, heroin, benzodiazepine, cocaine, and alcohol all decreased.  

Researchers combined death reports, toxicology reports, and information from police reports to get the data. 

“This work helped us learn that prescription opioids weren't the primary problem anymore; we saw when fentanyl started being combined with heroin," said Philip Huynh, PPI project analyst in a news release. “By being the first ones to actually look at toxicology data, we were the first ones to know about the recent rise in cocaine deaths. That doesn’t happen unless you’re analyzing the toxicology data and information from the scene."

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