Easily acquired fentanyl and pandemic at center of Trumbull County’s overdose increase, experts say

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Officials are worried 2021 could be another record-breaking year

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mental health experts in Trumbull County say the opiate epidemic has gotten worse, and the number of deadly overdoses so far in 2021 is proof.

Officials are worried 2021 could be another record-breaking year when it comes to the number of lives lost to addiction.

According to the Trumbull County Coroner’s office, as of February 26, there have been 25 confirmed overdose deaths, with another 10 still pending. All but one of those people who died had some kind of opiate in their system.

“Fentanyl is all the drugs that are out there, and fentanyl and carfentanyl are causing the overdose deaths,” said April Caraway, executive director of the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board.

It’s a troubling number since when compared to overdose deaths in the same time frame from the previous four years. Even with the unconfirmed fatalities, 2021 has surpassed them all. Something mental health experts attribute to how accessible fentanyl is and the pandemic.

“We know that all the depression, anxiety, substance use that’s gone up during the pandemic has attributed to our overdoses going up,” Caraway said.

Officials fear if the trend continues, the number of fatalities this year could break 2017’s record of 135.

Caraway encourages family and friends of someone with an opiate addiction to get naloxone, which is used to reverse an opiate overdose. It could help save a loved one’s life.

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