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West Virginia suffers record number of fatal drug overdoses

Statistics show West Virginia had 909 people die of drug overdoses in 2017, an increase from the previous record of 887, set in 2016. (MGN Online)

Cabell County is leading West Virginia in the number of fatal overdoses for the second year in a row.

Citing state data, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported 909 people died of drug overdoses in West Virginia in 2017, an increase from the previous record of 887, set in 2016. Overdose deaths seemed to slow during late 2017, though the state Health Statistics Center says that could be due to reporting delays.

The newspaper reported last year's increase was fueled by fentanyl-caused overdose deaths. But the center's data also show a rise in non-opioid drug overdose deaths from methamphetamine, amphetamine and cocaine. Cabell County reports a 35 percent drop in overdoses so far this year, compared to 2017.

The newspaper says West Virginia has the highest overdose death rate in the country.

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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