Washington County coroner’s office: Over 100 people died of overdose-related deaths in 2021

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. — The Washington County coroner’s office announced Wednesday that 106 people died from overdose-related deaths in 2021, making it the county’s second highest year on record.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the numbers started to go up again,” said Dr. Jody Glance, clinical chief of addiction medicine services for UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital.

Earlier this month, William Greene was sentenced to 35 to 70 years after pleading guilty to selling fentanyl that killed two people in Washington County, including David Chappel.

“One day my grandchildren will be adult men, and I want them to know who killed their dad. He did and he didn’t care,” said David’s mother, June.

The latest statistics from the coroner’s office show that, when it comes to overdose-related deaths last year, fentanyl was found in 82% of them.

According to a news release from the Washington County coroner, “illicit substances are rarely “pure,” and while someone might think they’re buying heroin, the report shows that heroin, on its own, did not appear even once. Fentanyl appeared on its own 14 times.

Glance believes the pandemic has exacerbated drug-related issues overall, causing people to feel lonely and go without the support they once had.

“As well as people using alone instead of in maybe in the past, they were in the presence of other people, so that on the chance that they did accidentally overdose, there was someone there,” Glance said.

The latest stats show that overdoses deaths were mainly people between the ages of 30 to 59 and the majority of overdose deaths were men.

However, 2016 was the county’s record year for overdoses, coming in at 109 fatalities.

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