Deputy Coroner: Prescription drug abuse deaths spiking in Vanderburgh County

Deputy Coroner: Prescription drug abuse deaths spiking in Vanderburgh County
Source: Raycom Media
Source: Raycom Media

VANDERBURGH CO., IN (WFIE) - According to Vanderburgh County Deputy Coroner Steve Lockyear, there are more prescription pill deaths across the nation, than deaths from car accidents.

In 2015, there were 47 prescription drug overdose deaths in Vanderburgh County.

Lockyear says normally authorities can track down a doctor in the person's medical history for a source of the pills.

But now that's changed.

" In 2015, that all changed.  Almost half of our cases, we were not able to trace the source back.  That probably means they're coming off the streets," explains Lockyear.

Many of the prescription overdose deaths in Vanderburgh County in 2015 involved a cocktail of potentially-deadly drugs, according to reports.

" We're trying to curb this epidemic," explains Lockyear.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control handed down $3.3 million to Indiana authorities for a system to better track violent deaths.

That's through a new registry all Indiana counties are supposed to be implementing, to track violent crime and drug trends.

The coroner team in Vanderburgh County worked 1,800 cases last year, with a staff of 3-4 people.

Deputy Coroner Steve Lockyear says Vanderburgh County is also seeing a sharp increase in heroin deaths.

In 2015, there were six heroin deaths.  In 2016, there have already been three deaths.

Lockyear says prescription pill abuse is the catalyst for heroin usage.

" That's always been the concern, we've been warning folks, and it's coming true."

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