The new numbers are a 45% increase from 2019.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The number of fatal drug overdoses in West Virginia hit a record last year, according to preliminary state data showing at least 1,275 residents died.

The increase comes after two years of declining numbers in a state often called the epicenter of the national drug crisis, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

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The new numbers are a 25% increase from the 1,019 overdose deaths in 2017, which previously was the only year overdose deaths exceeded 1,000 people in West Virginia.

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The overdose data was compiled from death certificates certified by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer and are not final, meaning numbers could rise.

The new numbers are a 45% increase from 2019, when 878 people died. Across the state, 15 counties at least doubled the number of fatal overdoses between 2019 and 2020 and eight had fewer deaths.

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