- Associated Press - Sunday, January 14, 2018

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) - Health officials in a Florida county are calling attention to an alarming increase in opioid overdoses and deaths.

Lee County on Florida’s Gulf Coast saw 955 cases in 2017, eight times more than the 171 overdoses reported in 2013, according to medical provider Lee Health.

The News-Press reported that street drug heroin and fentanyl deaths accounted for 61 deaths in 2016 in the Fort Myers area, while in Naples, they accounted for 27 deaths. Nearby Port Charlotte had eight deaths.

In all of Florida, the opioid epidemic claimed 5,725 deaths in 2016, a 35 percent increase from the 4,242 Florida deaths in 2015, according to a Florida Medical Examiners report.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and President Donald Trump have declared the rise in deaths and overdoses state and national emergencies.

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Information from: The (Fort Myers, Fla.) News-Press, http://www.news-press.com

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