Overdose deaths climb 150 percent

The Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office has confirmed 30 overdose deaths in Bartholomew County last year, with 26 of them opioid-related.

Twenty-nine of the deaths were ruled accidental, with one a suicide, according to the report. The overdose numbers represent a 150 percent increase in a year’s time — compared to the 12 fatal overdoses in 2016 and 6 the prior year, Coroner Clayton Nolting said.

Deputy Coroner Jay Frederick said several things stood out in the statistics, including that a variety of drugs beyond opioids and heroin were found in the victims. Those drugs included benzodiazepines, methamphetamine and newer exotic drugs such as Etizolam, U47700 and Carfentanil.

Frederick said the most prevalent drug in all 30 cases was fentanyl, which was found in 12 of the 30 cases. Heroin was found in 8 of the 30 cases, he said.

The Republic will be launching a series, Addicted & Dying, this month to analyze the increasing number of fatal opioid-related overdoses, the causes and the impacts felt by families and entire communities.