GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- The overdose death rate is not dropping in Lake County Indiana, according to the county's coroner office.
Lake County Coroner Merilee Frey said there have been 18 overdose related deaths in February alone. So far, 11 of the deaths have been confirmed to be opioid-related.
Many of these reports indicate heroine and fentanyl abuse and others indicate cocaine abuse, Frey said. Some cases are still awaiting toxicology reports.
Indiana has long struggled with drug related deaths. From 2016 to 2017, the state had the third highest rate increase of opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States, according to the coroner's office. In 2017, there were over 1,800 identified overdose deaths.
If you or someone you know finds themselves in a drug related medical emergency, call 911 immediately. Both Indiana and Illinois have 911 immunity laws that can legally protect someone in possession of small quantities of certain drugs in the case of a medical emergency.
18 drug overdose deaths reported in Lake County, Indiana in February, coroner says