Coroner's report shows drop in drug deaths, more suicides, homicides in 2017

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - A three-year comparison of causes of death in Wood County shows a drop in the number of drug-related deaths in 2017 but an increase in the number of suicides, homicides and fatal vehicle crashes.

MGN Graphics - Retama / CC BY-SA 3.0

According to a report compiled by Wood County Coroner Mike St. Clair, there were 20 drug-related deaths in 2017, down from 43 in 2016 and 34 in 2015.

St. Clair says the numbers in the report only include cases involving his office.

That includes 17 suicides in 2017, up from nine in 2016 and 13 in 2015.

In addition, there were six homicide cases in 2017, compared with three each during 2015 and 2016.

There also was an increase in fatal vehicle crashes in 2017. The report shows 13 in 2017, five in 2016 and 10 in 2015.

In all, St. Clair says the coroner's office responded to 261 deaths in Wood County in 2017. The report lists 141 of those only as consults, which St. Clair says are deaths from natural causes at a residence.

St. Clair's office also assisted other area counties in 70 cases.

For 2017, the No. 1 cause of death was drugs, followed by
heart disease (18), undetermined (18), suicides (17), motor-vehicle accidents (13), falls (10), other (8), homicides (6), alcohol (4), ATV accidents (2) and drownings and tractor/farming accidents (1).