Ada County Coroner counts eight overdose-related deaths in 2018

Posted at 5:20 PM, Jan 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-15 19:20:23-05

Idaho is no exception in the fight against the opioid crisis. 

Statistics show we lose one person every 45 hours in the Gem State to opioid abuse. Ada County leaders are looking to change that by offering a series of educational events to tackle the epidemic head on.

“We really need to do something about this, and we need to do something about it now,” said Judge Lynn Norton of Idaho’s Fourth Judicial District. 

In 2015, nearly 220 Idahoans died from a drug overdose.

“We know it’s a national problem, but this is a problem in Ada County,” Judge Norton said. “This is a problem here.”

Since Jan. 1 of this year, Coroner Dotti Owens says there have been eight overdose-related deaths in Ada County.

“In the last two years, we’ve seen a pretty significant increase,” Owens said. “As an estimate, we went from about 50 to 60 a year, to now we’re well over 100 [a year].”

Overdoses are starting to inundate the county morgue, with doctors and investigators seeing them almost every week.

“Our two main leading causes of coroner cases, legitimate coroner cases, are actually overdoses and suicides,” Owens said. “So it’s something that we get a couple a week, it seems.”

Leaders in the fight against Ada County’s opioid epidemic say a series of upcoming public education seminars will give the community the tools needed to tackle the crisis. 

“Anytime there is an overdose, whether the person lives or not, it has such an incredible impact on the fabric of our community,” Judge Norton said.

The first event will be held Thursday, Jan. 25, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Ten Mile Christian Church in Meridian. Speakers include the Ada County Coroner and an overdose survivor.