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Drug overdoses on the rise in southeast Ohio county

Lawrence County, Ohio, is experiencing what could turn out to be its deadliest year of drug...
Lawrence County, Ohio, is experiencing what could turn out to be its deadliest year of drug overdoses.(WSAZ)
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 6:49 PM EDT
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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) - Lawrence County is experiencing what could turn out to be its deadliest year of drug overdoses.

The number of deaths halfway through this year has already matched last year’s total of 26. Coroner Benjamin Mack says the county is speeding toward a deadly, record-setting total.

“Almost every single one of our overdoses has involved fentanyl in some way. Almost exclusively in some cases. Half of those seem to be involving methamphetamine, as well. We’ve had only just one overdose out of those 26 that was not fentanyl involved,” Mack said.

Ironton Police Chief Pamela Wagner said overdoses are becoming far too common. They’ve responded to 37 total -- six which proved fatal.

“If you just had to go look into a mother or father’s eyes one time, when you tell them that their child has passed, you would never use again,” Wagner said.

Drug traffickers are getting creative with fentanyl, as well. Wagner said they see it everywhere including heroin, meth and marijuana. Despite local efforts by law enforcement to curb the drug problem, Mack says usage is on the rise.

“We’ve seen state and federal resources just dumping tons of financial resources and effort into trying to get people help. It’s just a matter of getting people plugged into the right places,” he said.

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