- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

CINCINNATI (AP) - A coroner says fatal drug overdoses rose sharply last year in the Cincinnati area and the numbers would have been even worse without the opioid-overdose antidote naloxone.

Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco (LAK’-schmee sam-MAHR’-koh) announced Tuesday that her office saw a spike of more than 30 percent in overdose cases in 2017. Most of the 529 people killed had a mix including an opioid in their bloodstream.

Sammarco says naloxone is saving a “huge” number of lives and the death toll might have doubled or even tripled without it.

Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan works with a countywide drug coalition. He says the area needs more state and federal funding to combat the drug problem.

Synan says the spike in deaths is discouraging, but doesn’t mean the fight is hopeless.

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