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Initial numbers indicate Hancock County overdose deaths slowing

Fewer overdoses have been confirmed in 2018 so far than the same period in 2017, according to data from Hancock Public Health.

So far in 2018, the agency has confirmed seven overdose deaths within Hancock County, said Krista Pruitt, injury prevention coordinator for Hancock Public Health. Additionally, 14 deaths are waiting for a final ruling from the coroners office. Pruitt said those 14 deaths were not likely to all be overdoses.

All of the seven overdose cases within the county had opiates contributing to their death, Pruitt said.

Five of those deaths mention fentanyl, one heroin, and one just opioids, she said.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid or painkiller, first developed in the 1960s. Its 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Between January and September 2017, Pruitt said the office confirmed 12 overdose deaths.

There were 30 total overdose deaths in 2017, twice as many deaths as were counted in 2016.

Pruitt said there werent specific reasons why the overdoses were lower this year. There are a lot of reasons someone may not be getting help.

The opiate issue is such a complex issue, she said. Each individual person has their own unique story.

Pruitt pointed out of the seven confirmed cases within the county, there were five men and two women, all of whom ranged in age from 25 to 36, the sterotypical age of overdose deaths.

Overdose deaths in Hancock County in 2017 ranged in age from 24 to 62.

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