Drug overdose deaths spike 150% in Bartholomew County

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. – A record number of drug overdose deaths in Bartholomew County has the coroner’s office dealing with a 150 percent spike in its caseload.

“People do not know what they are getting and they do not know how many times it has been stepped on or how many times it has been cut or what it has been cut with. That is what is bringing more cases to my door,” said Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting.

Nolting says 26 of those overdose deaths were caused by opioids.

“Our number one opiate that people overdosed on was fentanyl. Twelve fatal overdoses last year with fentanyl and eight with heroin,” said Nolting.

Officials say fentanyl is linked to the high number of drug overdose deaths in the county. According to county documents, the amount of drug overdose deaths spiked by 150 percent last year.

“Just inhaling one small grain of fentanyl which is the size of salt can be toxic,” said Nolting.

Nolting has not only seen the deadly effects of the drug epidemic at his morgue but also out on the streets, where he works as a Columbus police officer. Just this month, Nolting and his team busted more than a half dozen people for drugs. It was one of many recent busts that have helped remove many illegal drugs from the streets.

“If we can keep more people out of my morgue, then I’m doing my job,” said Nolting.

As drug traffickers continue to bring in new loads of laced opioids, Nolting and the Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office are prepared to deal with another increase in overdose deaths.

“The end user has no idea what they are getting. All they want is that next high,” said Nolting.

The Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress in Bartholomew County has several resources available for those struggling with substance abuse.