Butler County, like many communities around the country, is feeling the effects of the opioid epidemic more strongly than ever before.
This week the number of overdose deaths confirmed by the county coroner's office reached 74, matching the record-high total from 2016. With toxicology reports still pending on several deaths and six weeks left in the year, the coroner expects the county will see another record death toll.
The people who have lost their lives have ranged from age 17 to 62 and have left behind parents, sibling, children and friends — many of whom watched them struggle with their addictions to no avail.
Meanwhile, law enforcement, government workers, the court system and families are all struggling to find the answers to the epidemic.
“The sad truth is we are having more deaths still despite the fact that there are more reversals. How many more deaths would there be without the naloxone being out there?” Mark Pfeffer, chief deputy with the Butler County Sheriff's Office, asked.