West Virginia county again leads state in overdose deaths

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — One West Virginia county has led the state in overdose deaths for the second consecutive year, accounting for more than 20 percent of West Virginia’s total overdose deaths in 2017.

The Herald-Dispatch reports West Virginia Health Statistics Center data shows a record 152 deaths in Cabell County in 2017. The county also broke its record for total overdoses, at 1,831, surpassing the 2016’s record by August’s end.

The county’s emergency medical services director, Gordon Merry, says the pace of overdose reports did slow in the last three months of 2017. But Merry says it’s too soon to tell if that marks a true decline. He theorized that methamphetamine use might be up, leading to the drop.

Fentanyl was present in more than 90 percent of the county’s fatal overdoses.

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