WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board released its overdose report for last year. The conclusion? Drug overdoses continue to be a serious problem in the counties around Youngstown, though the numbers are down when compared to the record-breaking year of 2017.
“I’m not OK with any of the numbers,” said April Caraway, executive director of the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board. “I want the numbers to always go down.”
In 2019, the number of overdoses in Trumbull County went up — albeit, slightly.
Last year, there were 766 overdoses in Trumbull County — 2018 had 764. Both years are still way down from 1,254 in 2017.
Two years ago, heroin and oxycontin were the drugs of overdosing — but not anymore.
“We say it all the time — fentanyl is in everything and that’s what’s causing it,” Caraway said.
For the third straight year, Warren remains the city with Trumbull County’s most reported overdoses. Though unlike 2017 and 2018 when Warren’s east side zip code was number one, in 2019, Warren’s west side zip code took the top spot.
“You know, there are changes in use,” Caraway said. “There is more methamphetamine use, we have more crack cocaine use and we see a higher prevalence of overdoses now in cocaine mixed with fentanyl than any other drug. So it just depends on what people are using and where they live.”
As far as overdose deaths for Mahoning, Trumbull and Mercer counties combined, an estimated 240 people died in 2019. That’s down from 244 in 2018 and way down from 291 in 2017.
Mercer County Coroner John Libonati said there’s a reason why.
“In all honesty, I believe that with the availability of Narcan and being over-the-counter, I believe that people are having it more readily available.”
Libonati also said the use of Narcan may not be telling us how bad the problem really is.
“It’s a lifesaving drug until we can get you into treatment. I think people are under the misconception that it’s a treatment. ‘We’re just going to continue the behavior and use Narcan.'”
A few other stats on overdoses in Trumbull County through 2019:
– 65% were men
– 64% were from ages 20 to 40
– Friday had the most overdoses and Monday was second; no one could explain why Monday’s numbers were so high