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Drug Overdose Deaths Double In Clark County


The overdose death of a pregnant woman in Clark County this week is yet another reminder of the growing epidemic of drug addiction.  In 2015, there were 73 drug overdose deaths in Clark County, almost double from the previous year.  Almost all of them were related to heroin or fentanyl, a much stronger drug than heroin.  Officials say buyers often don't know which one they're getting.

To help fight the upward trend, last year Clark County formed a drug-death review panel and Gabe Jones—epidemiologist with the Clark County Combined Health District—says in each overdose case, they’re digging deep into the numbers.

“[We're looking at] mental health related data, incarceration related data, just basic demographic data, rehab data—anything that we can try to figure out the source of where these people might have started their addiction,” he says. 

Within the data they’ve collected so far, Jones says trauma and mental health issues earlier in life are common among addicts. White males made up 70% percent of 2015 overdose deaths, and they’re seeing more deaths in the younger population.

The anti-overdose drug NARCAN is helping save lives in Clark County and other communities but Jones says those lives can be lost to another overdose just days later. They want to get more NARCAN out where it’s needed while they continue ramping up drug education and awareness.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.