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Heroin Deadlier Than Cocaine in Orange, Osceola

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Accidental deaths from drug use is up 26 percent in Orange and Osceola counties, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Heroin overtook cocaine as the deadliest street drug last year. Heroin was found in 89 deaths in Orange and Osceola counties last year, that’s compared to 19 heroin-related deaths in 2011.

Cocaine was a close second, with 88 deaths, and was often used in combination with other drugs. That’s an 89 percent increase from 2012.

In the prescription drug category, fentanyl, a powerful painkiller and anesthetic, overtook oxycodone as the deadliest drug. Deaths from methadone and ocycodone were down, and deaths involving anti-anxiety medication Xanax dropped.

There was one death in 2014 from ecstasy. In total, 209 people died from accidental overdose last year, compared to 166 deaths the year before.

Check here to download the Orange County Medical Examiner’s report. And see below for more stories on Florida’s growing heroin problem:

As heroin abuse rises in Orange County, so does death toll

Lethal supply and demand: Heroin overdoses spike in pill mill’s crackdown

Shot can rescue opioid overdose victims


WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Health reporting on WMFE is supported in part by Florida Hospital and the Winter Park Health Foundation.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.