Drug related deaths are on the rise this year in Erie County. Here is a break down of the numbers and what experts are saying about it.

Nearly 90 people have died so far from an overdose. With the rise in drug related deaths, so is the use of specific drugs in Erie County.

There are 87 drug deaths calculated for 2020 in Erie County as of December 29th according to the coroners office.

“I would say that almost 80% involve fentanyl. Fentanyl is still the big killer in Erie County and its followed closely by cocaine, a little bit of heroin, we are not seeing much heroin anymore and methamphetamine is on the rise again,” said Lyell Cook, Erie County Coroner.

So what do experts believe could be a contributor to this?

“The fact that by taking away peoples social interaction and increasing their isolation makes addiction and recovering much harder for everybody,” said Mark VanDyke, DO, MPH, New Directions Healthcare.

Although it appears there is an increase in drug use, it is also being reported that more people are seeking help.

“We’ve had a significant number since COVID started seek treatment primarily on the methadone side and we are glad to have them in treatment and help them along in their process to recovery,” said VanDyke

As for what you can do if you believe you know someone who is suffering from an addiction.

“Support that person and understand that it is their addiction not yours and don’t go down the rabbit hole that I’ve got to fix them. The only person that can fix them is themselves and you can’t make anybody go to treatment or recovery. The person has to come to their own bottom and make that choice to come to treatment,” said VanDyke.

The Coroner’s office stated that the final numbers for drug related deaths in 2020 are expected to be released by early spring.