Accidental drug overdoses in Monroe County more than doubled from 2019 to 2020, according to data from the county coroner’s office.

Forty-nine people died from accidental drug overdoses in 2020, up from 21 in 2019. Last year’s total also was nearly twice as high as the average of 25 deaths from drug poisoning reported for Monroe County by the state between 2015 and 2019.

A researcher from Indiana University said that local trends fall in line with data at the state and national levels, but the reasons for the spike are, as of yet, unclear.

“There’s not one clear answer I can give you,” said Jon Agley, associate professor and deputy director of research and prevention insights at IU School of Public Health.

Agley said the spike is likely caused by many complex factors including known increases in the use of synthetic opioids and stimulants as well as multiple effects from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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