Drug overdose rate steady in Erie County while national rates soared during pandemic

Local News

The record 93,000 drug overdose deaths across the nation we reported this week does not reflect what we are seeing in Erie County.

In fact, according to Lyell Cook, the Erie County coroner, the local numbers have been steady.

Cook said so far in 2021, there have been 52 deaths caused by drug overdose. In 2020, where there were 5,172 reported drug overdose deaths in Pennsylvania, Erie County only suffered 89 of them. While this was still an increase from the 76 reported deaths in 2019 and the 83 deaths in 2018, this number is still well below the 2017 spike of 124, which Cook attributed to the prominence of fentanyl in the local drugs.

According to the CDC, the number of reported overdose deaths in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from December 2019 (4,444) to December 2020 (5,172) increased by 16.4 percent. Across the nation, overdoses increased 29.6 percent.

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