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Report, Final 2020 OD Numbers Provide Picture of County Opioid Problem


Continuing its coordinated approach to the opioid problem in the county, the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner (ACOME) and the departments of Health and Human Services released reports related to the opioid issue, and announced additional grant funding to assist in response for residents with addictions.
 
Dr. Karl Williams, Chief Medical Examiner, reported that the number of deaths from accidental overdoses during 2020 has been finalized. The 2020 number of 689 overdose deaths reflects an increase of 125 deaths over the final 2019 number of 564, a 22% increase.
 
“The epidemic of drug overdoses continues with a steady rise towards the peak year of 2017 when the widespread availability of Narcan resulted in a significant decline,” said Williams. “A particularly troubling trend is the increasing appearance of methamphetamine and newer synthetic analogues of fentanyl and the benzodiazepine group of agents.”
 
The data from the 2020 deaths indicates that more males died of drug-related overdoses (68%) with 75% of decedents having been identified as white. Nearly 43% of cases (294 deaths) fall into one of three age groups: 35-39, 30-34, and 40-44. The ages from 25 to 54 account for 74% of the deaths with white males the largest group.
 
The most frequent drug in the typical mixture of agents remains fentanyl, with heroin and cocaine the second and third most common, being found in 91% of the cases. The three zip codes with the most overdose deaths in the county: 15210, 15212 and 15216. In 2020, 51% of all accidental deaths were drug deaths. Drug deaths also made up 27% of all morgue and issue cases during the year.

Further details on the overdose deaths in the county for 2020, and prior years, can be found on the OverdoseFreePA website: https://www.overdosefreepa.pitt.edu.

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Those seeking support or help with issues related to Substance Use Disorder for themselves or others, can call either of these 24/7/365 resources:
 
PA Get Help
Pathway to Care & Recovery
1-800-662-HELP (4357)
(412) 325-7550
 
For those who prefer to seek assistance in-person, walk-in services are available 24/7/365 at Pathway to Care & Recovery located at 326 Third Avenue, Pittsburgh.



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