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Cabell overdose totals fall again in October

November 7, 2018

Huntington police officers, firefighters and Cabell County EMS workers respond to an overdose on 6th Avenue on Oct. 18 in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON— Through 10 months, Cabell County is on pace to finish the year with 718 fewer non-fatal overdoses than in 2017, according to the latest figures from Cabell County EMS.

Overdose reports fell to 76 for October, down from 85 in September and 113 in August, continuing a now 38-percent decrease in non-fatal overdoses this year. The decline continues through the autumn months after overdose totals stagnated between 100 and 110 overdoses per month from May to August.

So far, Cabell County has seen less overdoses in each individual month of 2018 compared to the same months in 2017. October 2018′s total 76 overdoses, for example, are far less than the 139 overdoses reported in October 2017.

The county still averages about three overdose calls per day.

Should the current pace hold through the final three months, Cabell County is expected to record 1,113 overdoses in 2018. By comparison to past years, the county had a record 1,831 overdoses in 2017, 1,217 in 2016 and 480 in 2015.

Experts have not defined any one cause of the decline, which was first noticed by Cabell EMS crews in September 2017. Contributing factors commonly attributed to fall include the city’s major players — such as the city government, Marshall University, and the hospital system — working toward a common goal in reducing and reversing addiction, increased public availability of naloxone, and a general sense of awareness to the matter.

Preliminary data indicate more than 220 people died of a drug overdose in Cabell County in 2017, according to the Cabell-Huntington Health Department — a number that is likely to increase as more cases are processed. Fatal overdose totals, which are kept by the state Department of Health and Human Resources, have not been finalized for 2017.

Follow reporter Bishop Nash on Twitter @BishopNash.

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