Carlisle/West Shore

Cumberland County sees decline in drug overdose deaths

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) - The Cumberland County coroner says he's seeing a significant decrease in the number of drug overdose deaths.

Coroner Charley Hall said deaths are down by 40 percent so far this year, to 34 from 54 this time last year. If the trend continues, the county's total would be its lowest since 2015.

"Which is great," Hall said. "It means that maybe the tide is turning."

Hall initially suspected increased use of the overdose reversal drug Narcan, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Cumberland Goodwill EMS has seen a steep drop in the number of overdose-related calls.

"We've been very fortunate that during 2018, for the past seven months, we've actually seen a decrease in the number of patients we've encountered who are experiencing an opioid-related emergency," Assistant Chief Nathan Harig said.

From January to August of last year, Cumberland Goodwill EMS issued 131 Narcan doses. So far this year, only 67 doses have been given.

Harig credits the various efforts aimed at stopping the crisis.

"They're starting to have an effect and it's starting to have a positive impact for our entire community," he said.

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