Members of local law enforcement are saying drug overdoses continue to claim the lives of many in our region.

The Erie County coroner reported more than 100 drug-related deaths in 2022 and added about 85% of those deaths were fentanyl-related. Members of local law enforcement said they seized several pounds of the drug in the last year.

Fentanyl is a dangerous narcotic that is cutting many lives too short across the United States and our region. Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook reports that more than 80 fentanyl-related deaths in 2022.

“It’s a little high. We were up to almost 160 (deaths) a few years ago, so it’s still below that but even one is disconcerting,” said Cook.

Cook added that in addition to fentanyl opioids and cocaine are responsible for drug-related deaths last year. 

“We haven’t seen any heroin in a long time. Generally, the opioids are used as a delivery system for the fentanyl,” Cook said.

Erie police said after an overdose, detectives work to track the drugs back to the source.

“We’ll charge if we’re able to prove who dealt those drugs that caused the overdose and death. A lot of investigations last year on fentanyl — I don’t see that slowing down this year. It’s something that we’re going to stay on,” said Deputy Chief of Police Rick Lorah, City of Erie.

In April 2022, Erie police seized 2.6 pounds of fentanyl and more than $18,000 in cash from a drug bust in two city neighborhoods.

“We seized several pounds of fentanyl last year alone in both its raw form and in pill form, so certainly, that’s disheartening that there’s that much fentanyl out there,” Lorah added.

Deputy Chief Lorah added that the fentanyl in the Erie community comes outside the United States.