Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 14, 2014

Overdose deaths in Boyd County declined in 2013

CATLETTSBURG — Drug overdose deaths were down sharply in Boyd County in 2013, according to Coroner Mark Hammond.

In presenting the yearly statistics for his office, Hammond told the Boyd County Fiscal Court on Tuesday the county recorded 11 such deaths last year, compared with 20 in 2012.

“And the year before that, we had about 40,” he said.

Hammond attributed the decrease to law enforcement’s success in stemming the tide of illegal prescription drug trafficking. Abuse of prescription opiates like oxycodone has been the principal cause of OD deaths in the county, he said.

Many pill abusers have made the transition to heroin, but Hammond said he doesn’t expect the death toll from overdoses of that drug to reach the same heights as the one from prescription drugs due in part to paramedics being better trained to respond to heroin overdoses and better equipped to do so.

“They’re getting to people quickly and giving them Narcan (an opiate antagonist used to counter the effects of overdose), which takes their high away,” he said.

However, Hammond said there was a good chance the number of recorded overdose deaths in the county could increase this year because of a change in the law about reporting requirements for such deaths. Under the new law, he said, if a person ODs and doesn’t die immediately, but later succumbs from the effects of overdose, it’s recorded as an OD death where, in the past, it might not have been.

Also, according to Hammond, the year isn’t off to a promising start with regard to overdoses. The coroner’s office responded to four deaths within a 16-hour period on Friday, and “two, maybe three,” were ODs, he said.

Overall, Hammond said, a total of 1,064 deaths passed through his office in 2013. Of those, 864 were determined to be natural deaths, while 122 resulted in investigations being opened.

In addition to the 11 overdoses, Hammond said, the deaths investigated broke down as follows: six from gunshot wounds, 75 cardiac-related, eight respiratory-related, two from motor vehicle accidents, three from homicide, and one each from fire, stroke, positional asphyxia, hanging, pulmonary embolism and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Hammond said investigations conducted by his office last year resulted in 11 autopsies being performed, a number he said was about average. He also noted there had been a steep increase in the number of cremations being done in the county from when he first took office — from about 80 a year to 207 last year. State law requires the coroner to sign off on all cremations, he said.

Also, Hammond said, the coroner’s office did 47 transports last year — 34 local and 13 to Frankfort. The office’s total transported expenses were $3,800. Had those been contracted out, it would have cost the county $23,200, he said.

Hammond also told the fiscal court he and his deputies underwent a total of 400 hours of training last year — an average of 40 hours per person. The state requires only 18 hours of training a year to have a coroner’s or deputy coroner’s license, he said.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • newwendy1.jpg Ashland woman develops pregnancy journals for mom, dad

    An Ashland woman has a way of helping parents everywhere.
    Wendy Sparks, 47, wrote The journals, which are for parents to keep for themselves and their children during pregnancy.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Acres and acres of eggs

    A dozen volunteers spent the morning Saturday scattering more than 6,000 plastic eggs around the Greenup County Farm Bureau’s 10-acre field Saturday morning.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • Volunteers to pack thousands of meals for hungry Haitians

    Members of the First Baptist Church in Grayson are planning for the third year in a row to pack thousands of meals for starving people in Haiti, and they need help to do it.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • Sheriff candidates ready for election

    With no incumbent in the Boyd County Sheriff’s race, Republican and Democrat candidates for the post will square off in their respective primaries next month.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • 0419sciencehs.JPG Russell High School wins State Science Olympiad

    The long ride home from Bowling Green was tinged with disappointment for Russell High School students who believed they’d finished as also-rans in the state Science Olympiad last weekend.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419sciencems.JPG Russell Middle School state Science Olympiad champions

    From identifying hundreds of insects to designing and operating mechanical contraptions that just look like insects, a team of Russell Middle School students took their research and technical skills to the Science Olympiad in Bowling Green last week and came back state champions.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419melodies0148.jpg Kitchen jazzes up downtown lunch hour

    Some came to enjoy the relaxing sounds of cool jazz and traditional tunes at lunch, while others attended in hopes of picking up a few tricks from a master musician as guitarist Chris Kitchen kicked off the Melodies & Masterpieces concert series in downtown Ashland Friday afternoon.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sparks, Waddell in Carter Coronor’s race

    Incumbent George A. Sparks of Grayson will face challenger William Waddell of Olive Hill in the Democratic primary election for the Carter County coroner’s seat.

    April 18, 2014

  • 04/18/2014 — What's Happening

    Local news

    April 18, 2014

  • Bill3.jpg 'Dreams'

    It was in her own death that Donna Schoonover helped William Schoonover redefine his life.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone