This year is proving to be the worst on record by far for fatal drug overdoses in Virginia, a statewide forensic epidemiologist said.
Rosie Hobron, of the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, told The Virginian-Pilot that as of October, the most recent report available, there will be 2,053 deaths from drugs in 2020.
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Most of the deaths are from opioids, but there also have been deaths caused by cocaine, benzodiazepines, meth and other drugs. The state has never recorded more than 1,626 in a single year.
Before COVID-19, Virginia already was breaking records for drug deaths, but overdoses have increased during the pandemic.
In the first quarter of the year, 451 people died of overdoses. In the second quarter that rose to 634. By June, Virginia had already surpassed the total from 2015.
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By year’s end, Hobron’s estimate would put the commonwealth more than 420 deaths over last year — which was a record at that time.