Big Stories of 2016: Clark County sees impact of opiate epidemic

Suboxone, a drug intended to treat opiate addictions. Jeff Guerini/Staff
Suboxone, a drug intended to treat opiate addictions. Jeff Guerini/Staff

Big Stories of 2016

The nation has been dealing with a spike in opiate abuse and Clark County wasn’t spared from the epidemic.

Since 2008, the number of overdose deaths in Ohio has risen by more than 600 percent, according to statewide data.

In 2015, a record 72 people died of unintentional drug overdoses in Clark County. Through November 2016, the county had seen 39 confirmed unintentional overdose deaths, according to Clark County Coroner Dr. Richard Marsh.

RELATED: Sheriff’s office, Clark County police team up for drug task force

That number was expected to increase after the results of several toxicology reports on additional deaths.

In the first half of 2016, Springfield Regional treated more than 250 overdoses, including 76 in February alone.

MORE: Heroin, fentanyl deaths climb in Clark County

The heroin epidemic also has stretched safety services.

The Springfield Fire/Rescue Division had used 360 doses of Narcan to revive overdose patients just through May — more than all of 2015. Narcan is a drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose.

DETAILS: Overdose antidote available at stores in Clark, Champaign counties

Treatment facilities such as McKinley Hall in Springfield have seen an increase of assessments, recording 112 assessments in March alone, a record for the facility. Typically the organization does about 70 to 80 assessments per month.

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