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Overdose Deaths In Franklin County Skyrocket During COVID-19 Pandemic

Overdoses from heroin and other opioids have led six states to declare public health emergencies.
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Overdoses from heroin and other opioids have led six states to declare public health emergencies.

Overdose deaths in Franklin County increased by nearly 50% in 2020. Over the past three years, the rate has jumped by close to 84%.

The Franklin County Coroner’s office report cited the problem as “the epidemic within the pandemic.”

Overdose fatalities in Franklin County have been climbing through the past three years. From 2017 to 2020, the county recorded an 83.9% increase in overdose deaths.

Male overdose deaths reached 71% of the total number of deaths in 2020. That is up from 68% in 2017.

Female deaths slightly declined in percentage during the same timeframe: from 32% to 29%.

The percentage of overdose deaths by African Americans also showed a troubling trend. The numbers climbed from 20% of Franklin County deaths in 2017 to 28% in 2020.

The percentage for Caucasians dying from overdoses in the county has declined from 77% in 2017 to 67% in 2020.

Fentanyl-related overdose deaths accounted for 87% of the total overdose deaths in 2020. That is higher than in the 3 previous years where fentanyl was found in approximately 74-83% of all overdose deaths.

Other overdose deaths were attributed to cocaine with 366 cases, with methamphetamines having the third-most at 122 deaths. Alcohol, and xylazine were also listed as overdose fatalities.