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Cabell County led West Virginia in overdose deaths in 2017; non-fatal pace slowing

By BISHOP NASH

The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — More than 20 percent of West Virginia’s overdose deaths last year were suffered in Cabell County, which led the state’s 55 counties for a second consecutive year with a record 152 deaths in 2017, according to the latest data from the West Virginia Health Statistics Center.

While the county shattered its own record for total overdoses in a year at 1,831 for 2017, data indicate non-fatal overdoses actually occurred at a slower pace during the last three months of 2017, according to Cabell County Emergency Medical Services, which compiles total overdose figures at the county level.

Cabell County quickly surpassed 2016’s then-record 1,250 overdose total by Aug. 24 at a pace of more than five overdose reports per day, but the 2017 total would have been much higher had the same pace continued through the year, Cabell EMS Director Gordon Merry pointed out.

From January through August 2017, Cabell County averaged 5.3 overdose reports per day, placing the county on pace for 1,934 overdoses through 2017. The pace unexpectedly slowed to 4.5 overdoses per day from September through December 2017, Merry said. In 2016, overdoses in the county averaged 3.3 per day.

“We were going to do at least 2,000 overdose calls,” Merry said of the 2017 totals. “But the last couple of months, and I couldn’t tell you why, but we have seen a slowdown.”

Read the entire article: http://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/cabell-led-state-in-overdose-deaths-in-non-fatal-pace/article_e6085520-c817-5bce-a793-c1bcdabe844b.html

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