County overdose deaths on the rise

Coroner reports 25 drug overdose deaths so far in 2017; 20 total in 2016

By Melanie Yingst -

MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County has recorded 25 drug overdose deaths half-way through the year, according to county Coroner Dr. William Ginn.

In 2016, a total of 20 opiate or drug overdose-related deaths were recorded.

“We are way over. Last year I had (20) overdose deaths and this year I’m already at 25 — we are already exceeding what was recorded last year,” Dr. Ginn said. “From what I’m seeing there has been a shift away from heroin and more Fentanyl, its derivative.”

Dr. Ginn’s report states 10 deaths were attributed to Fentanyl as of June 30. Other drugs included cocaine, fentanyl analogs, Carfentanyl, hydrocodone, methamphetamine, alcohol, heroin and other drugs.

Dr. Ginn said the coroner’s office is expected to exceed this year’s autopsy budget. It costs approximately $1,800 per autopsy report, including transportation to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, according to Dr. Ginn.

Dr. Ginn said he budgeted for 50 autopsies total for 2017 — so far, the office has requested 43 autopsies, including the 25 drug overdose related deaths.

“We do autopsies on all the overdose deaths and I budget for about 50 autopsies a year and I’ve already done 25 (drug overdose deaths alone),”said Dr. Ginn, noting the coroner’s office continues to perform autopsies on other non-drug related deaths in the county.”We budget for so many and go on the past year’s trend. This year it’s so far ahead that we’re probably going to exceed our budget and have to shift some money around.”

Dr. Ginn said the rise in opioid-related deaths has also caused delays in toxicology and autopsy reports from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office where the autopsies and toxicology reports are performed. Reports used to take 8 weeks, now it takes 12-16 weeks due to the rise in local deaths.

“They are just so overloaded with cases that it makes things move slow,” Dr. Ginn said. Ginn said he informs loved ones that it may take up to three months to know the cause of death.

The 25 reported overdoses are the second leading cause of death behind 77 deaths attributed to cardiovascular events in the county this year so far.

The city of Troy has recorded 8 overdose deaths, Piqua 7, Covington 3, Tipp City 2, and Pleasant Hill and West Milton each recorded one death this year. The three other deaths were recorded in other locations in the county.

According to a mid-year report from Miami County Public Health, 57 visits to the emergency department were due to drug overdoses.

“We have seen two months in a row with slightly lower overdose numbers, still about twice as many per month than we had in 2014,” said Commissioner Dennis Propes.

Of those ED visits, 26 were Piqua residents, 19 were Troy residents and six were from Tipp City and the others were located around the county.

Drug overdose statistics noted 30 overdoses were male patients and 27 were female. Drug overdose ED visits recorded two overdoses of people who were under age of 18. Of the 57 visits, 17 overdoses were age 35-49; 13 overdoses were age 25-34; and 12 overdoses were age 18-24.

Coroner reports 25 drug overdose deaths so far in 2017; 20 total in 2016

By Melanie Yingst

Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews

Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews