Dover, Ohio (WJER) - Tuscarawas County’s coroner says the overdose statistics from 2018 are showing some promise for the anti-drug advocates in the county. 

Dr. Jeff Cameron says in 2018, his office recorded eight drug overdose deaths, down from a record 23 deaths in 2017. However, Cameron says the main drug responsible for a majority of the deaths remained the same.

“The preponderance of overdose deaths are still due to what we call synthetic opioid analogs. People know those as fentanyl or fentanyl derivatives, which are created in a lab,” he says. “In 2018, of our eight overdose death, seven were due to fentanyl or a fentanyl derivative.”

Cameron says that number still weighs on the coroner’s office budget, with every suspected overdose having to be tested by an outside source.

“It still requires a sophisticated drug lab to do the testing, so all of our samples go to a drug lab in Indianapolis to check for the synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Compared to three plus years ago, we send a lot more out than we ever did,” he says. “The local labs don’t check for the fentanyl derivatives. They don’t have that technology.”

Cameron says the other overdose death from 2018 was the result of prescription painkillers. 

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