Sheriff Mincks: 'Overdose numbers are going down gradually'

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ohio (WTAP) - The opioid epidemic is one of the biggest issues in the country, especially in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says the number of overdoses are slowly declining in the county.

In 2017, the Washington County Sheriff's Office reported 5 overdose deaths. 2 of them were due to fentanyl and there was 1 heroin-related death. The department responded to 24 overdose calls last year, with 10 of them being heroin-related. Deputies applied narcan 5 times last year.

"As far as heroin and the opioids are concerned the amount of overdose calls we're having and the amount of deaths that we are having has dropped," Sheriff Mincks said.

He says that's because the drug of choice has changed.

"We're experiencing a lot of meth activities, a lot of sales ,a lot of interdiction, and meth is a drug that sort of moves you faster and heroin, your heart and your breathing start to decrease."

The numbers are similar in other departments in the county.

The Marietta Police Department responded to 24 drug overdose calls and 3 deaths in 2017.

Belpre Police responded to 25 overdose calls and 3 deaths.

"As far as I'm concerned one death is too much we still need to continue our efforts to reduce it if we can but the numbers are reducing. They're going downhill gradually," Sheriff Mincks said.

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