COVID is partly accountable for the surge in drug-related deaths within the Pittsburgh space – WPXI

WASHINGTON, Pennsylvania – A trend that is all too well known. New data shows a significant increase in the number of overdose deaths in 2020 for Washington and Allegheny counties.

Washington County’s coroner Tim Warco said there were 102 overdose deaths last year – 86 of them from fentanyl.

“Those who are addicted to drugs who use heroin and think they are buying heroin are not. It’s mixed with homemade fentanyl, ”he said.

According to Warco, the 102 overdose deaths in 2020 represent the second highest total since he took office in 1992.

“It’s an addiction problem. We all know people with addictions, I have them in my own family. It’s a daily battle with the demon, ”said Warco.

Washington Drugs and Alcohol Commission officials said they spotted both heroin and cocaine offerings in the county that were infused with fentanyl. They are still working to determine the role the pandemic – with closings and isolation – has played in the increase.

The increase in drug overdoses extended to Allegheny County, which saw a 22% increase in 2020.

According to chief physician Dr. Karl Williams there were 689 overdose deaths last year.

“Without Narcan and all the work the drug and alcohol programs are doing, those numbers would be much higher,” Warco said.

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