Indiana ranked 17th for drug overdose deaths - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Indiana ranked 17th for drug overdose deaths

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A new study revealed the number of Hoosiers dying each year from drug misuse had quadrupled since 1999.

Many of those deaths come from painkillers and other prescription drugs.

Studies show Indiana has the 17th highest number of drug overdose deaths in the nation. Prescription drugs are labeled as the common culprit.

In 2011, more than 700 Indiana overdose deaths were caused by prescriptions. That is a 10% increase from 2010.

The Vanderburgh County Coroner's Office says they're seeing the same trends.

So far this year, they estimate 28 of the 30 drug-related deaths they've dealt with can be linked to prescription medications.

Deputy Coroner Steve Lockyear says some are accidental and others are on purpose, but all of them are an issue.

He says he believes officials and authorities are all on the same page and working to combat the problem.

"Everybody understands the issue and are working towards a good resolution," said Lockyear. "People still need to be treated for their conditions, but I think that you're always going to have those people that will take too many and abuse what they have and we just have to get better at recognizing those people and getting them in treatment. Everybody's hope is we have zero, that everybody's safe when they go to the medicine cabinet."

Indiana State officials have started a campaign to increase awareness in hopes of soon seeing lower numbers of drug-related deaths.

If you know someone suffering from addiction, or dealing with drug abuse, click here for ways you can help.

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