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New data shows overdose deaths down in Broome County

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell on Thursday released new drug overdose death data for the county.

According to Cornwell, 31 overdose deaths were confirmed in 2018. That’s down from 66 deaths in 2017 and 76 in 2016.

The DA’s office says Cornwell and Overdose Death Investigator Jeffrey Wagner reviewed death certificates, police reports, coroner’s reports and toxicology reports, interviewed addicts and family members of the deceased, and coordinated with police agencies who responded to overdose deaths.

Officials released the following statistics for 2018:

• Average age: 40
• Gender: 71 percent male, 29 percent female
• Location: 56 percent in the City of Binghamton, 16 percent in the Town of Union, 28 percent in other towns
• Drug: 94 percent attributed to heroin and/or opioids, 6 percent attributed to other drugs.

“Our plan for 2019 is to continue working with treatment providers to get drug users into treatment programs, and
increase our investigative efforts both internally and externally, by working with neighboring counties and downstate agencies on intelligence sharing,” Cornwell said in a statement. “As we attack the drug epidemic from all sides, supply and demand, and balance treatment with aggressive prosecution, we will continue making progress and save more lives.”

Cornwell says two additional deaths are still under review, pending toxicology reports.

In a statement to 12 News, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said:

“It’s incredible to see today’s announcement from District Attorney Cornwell. The continuing decrease in overdose deaths in Broome County shows the power of partnerships. From our treatment providers, to law enforcement, Health Department, grassroots organizations, everyone is working together to fight this epidemic. This year, we brought in a new treatment center, Helio Health, to Broome County, created the groundbreaking Peer Response Team and provided minigrants to our grassroots organizations to help provide resources & educate the community. Our work is not done. I will continue to work across party lines with EVERYONE to get that fatal overdose number to ZERO.”

Nicky Hickling

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