Drug deaths climb in Scioto County


Fentanyl appears to be the main cog in the big drug death wheel that continues to turn in Scioto County.

On Tuesday, Scioto County Coroner, Dr. Darren Adams released the county drug death figures for 2015. Adams said, in comparison to the 2014 figures, direct drug deaths have increased from 19 in 2014 to 29 in 2015 and the drug related deaths have increased from 14 to 19 in the same time frame.

In 2014, there were six deaths directly involving Fentanyl, and four multi-drug deaths which involved Fentanyl. In 2015, there were four deaths directly involving Fentanyl, and five multi-drug deaths which involved Fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic similar to but more potent than morphine.

In 2014, there were two deaths directly involving heroin and six multiple drug deaths in which heroin was involved. In 2015 there were nine deaths directly involving heroin and five multiple drug deaths which involved heroin.

“I still don’t think we’ve peaked yet,” Adams told the Daily Times. “I think that we’re still on the uptick. Before it was just the Oxys and all that. But now they’re lacing it with Fentanyl and I think that’s what we’re seeing with the uptick.”

Adams said Fentanyl appears to be a big player in the drug overdose and death statistics in the area.

Over the last several months large numbers of overdoses including some deaths have occurred with the blame being put on Fentanyl-laced drugs. One weekend, 12 overdoses were registered. One was fatal.

“We had two cases of flakka which we actually sent for an autopsy and got back,” Adams said. “They’re seeing more of that in Kentucky than we are here. But it’s just a matter of time before we see more of that.”

Flakka is the street name for a chemical compound known as alpha-PVP, which is classified under the umbrella label of a synthetic cathinone, also known as “bath salts.” Like many other synthetic or designer drugs, flakka is mostly manufactured in Chinese labs, sold in bulk online under brand names like “Lunar Wave,” “Cloud Nine,” and “Scarface,” and then sold by US retailers for about $3 to $5 a pop, often with the disclaimer that the product is “not for human consumption.” People take it for its powerful psychoactive properties, which mimic the effects of cocaine or methamphetamine, often with disastrous consequences.

By Frank Lewis

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Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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