Venango overdose deaths dropped drastically in 2017

By MARISSA DECHANT – Staff writer

Overdose deaths decreased by more than 50 percent in Venango County in 2017.

Coroner Christina Rugh reported six overdose deaths last year, compared to 14 in 2016, during Friday’s county overdose task force meeting.

The deaths were equally split between men and women, with the majority of the deceased being between 40 to 50 years old.

One death involved a 91-year-old individual, which is not typical, Rugh noted.  The person died from a prescription overdose.

Other overdose deaths were caused by a number of drugs, including heroin laced with fentanyl, prescription opiates and benzodiazepines and a mixture of cocaine and heroin.

Rugh said there has been one verified overdose death in 2018.  The deceased male had been found with opioids and “designer” benzodiazepines in his system, which he had ordered from China and India, she said.

Two other deaths this year are waiting to be verified through toxicology reports, said Rugh.

One was likely a heroin overdose, while the other individual had been receiving treatment at Rainbow Recovery Center, a methadone clinic in Mercer County.

Rugh gave credit to the decrease in overdose deaths to an uptick in the presence of Naloxone in the county and a wider distribution of information and resources.