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Fentanyl-related deaths continue to mount

Westmoreland County Coroner Ken Bacha said butyryl fentanyl, a “designer opiate” new to the county, contributed to three deaths last month in January 2017 in Greensburg, Ligonier Township and Leechburg. A national opioid epidemic has led to a record-setting number of deaths, a strain on taxpayers and a coordinated response from officials trying to slow the casualties.

Between 2012 and 2015, Westmoreland County experienced 377 overdose deaths, according to coroner statistics. A

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5,544 people died from a drug overdose involving synthetic opioids in 2014, a 79 percent jump from the 3,097 in 2013.

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