Coroner: Columbus-area drug overdose deaths still rising

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The number of fatal overdoses in the county that includes Ohio’s capital city jumped during the first nine months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018, the county coroner reported Monday.

Franklin County recorded 421 drug deaths through September 2019, a 15% increase from the same nine months in 2018, said Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz. Ortiz said the overdose deaths continue to be driven by opioids, including fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller.

More than six of every 10 victims were white, most were men, and a majority were people aged 30 to 39, Ortiz said. Cocaine-related deaths made up the second highest number of fatalities after opioids, according to the coroner.

Ohio saw 3,764 unintentional fatal overdoses in 2018, a decrease of 23% from the previous year.