Marion County overdose deaths rates increase early in 2020, health officials say

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Josh Croup Overdose death rates are increasing in Marion County early in 2020, a health official said Wednesday.

Marion Couty Health Department Administrator Lloyd White told county commissioners more work is needed to combat the drug epidemic. He told them he can't say things are improving in the fight against overdoses.

"It's sad," White said. "We're making progress, but until we have zero deaths, then maybe we will have achieved some of our goals."

White didn't have specific numbers on hand but said the first month-and-a-half of 2020 saw more overdose deaths than other similar timespans in recent years.

Two babies who lived for about an hour were among the overdose deaths, according to White. They were born addicted to mothers without prenatal care.

Meth, White said, is among the leading killers in the county.

He said the focus for leaders needs to be on fighting overall addiction, rather than prioritizing a specific drug.