COLUMBUS, Ohio — The coroner serving the greater Columbus area says overdose deaths blamed largely on opioids are spiking compared to a year ago.

Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz (AN’-ih-hee ohr-TEEZ’) said Tuesday the county in central Ohio saw 173 overdose deaths through April of this year.

That’s a 66 percent jump from the same period a year ago.

Ortiz says most of the opioid-related deaths involved the painkiller fentanyl, which has been blamed for many overdose deaths in Ohio and across the country.

Ortiz says if the trend continues more than 500 people could die of overdoses in the county this year, compared to 353 last year.

The state says more than 3,050 Ohioans died of overdoses in 2015, the last year for which the Health Department has complete data.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.