Allen County seeing rise in drug overdoses

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Drug overdoses are on the rise in Allen County according to new data.

During an Allen County Board of Health meeting, Wabash College senior and Allen County Health Department intern John Reith relayed the information he found while conducting the study. The study, which was in conjunction with the Allen County Corners office, looked at drug overdose deaths between 2008 to 2019.

“I hope they (the board) sees that it’s still an issue,” John Reith said. “I hope they see that it’s affecting the community.”

The study looked into data on county overdoses collected from police reports, coroner’s reports, and other medical documents. Reith’s information concerned board members who were grateful for the data.

From 2008 to 2019 Allen County saw a total of 874 overdose deaths. This is a 237.5 % increase in deaths per year and that number is expected to grow.

Fort Wayne zip codes 46808 and 46803 in Fort Wayne had the highest rates of overdoses. The zip codes are shown in red in the photo below.

Out of all the data collected Fentanyal was found in 2/3s of all overdoses. None of which had prescriptions.

The data also found that men overdose more than women with a majority of the overdoses being accidental. Out of those who overdosed, 80 percent had at least a high school diploma, and 75 percent were employed or on disability at the time of their death.

“It was powerful to also see some other drug classes that were contributing to overdoes,” Reith said. “It gives us an idea of what the landscape is, what people are turning to in the county and potentially crack down on or find improvement to prescribing practices.”

Also on the agenda was the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Allen County.

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