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Record high: Fentanyl blamed for majority of overdose deaths in Virginia

A record number of Virginians died from drug overdoses in 2021, and fentanyl was linked to 76% of them.

NORFOLK, Va. — Author's note: The video above is on file from September 7, 2022.

Fentanyl contributed to a staggering 76% of overdose deaths in 2021 in Virginia.

And in 2022, the Opioid Crisis still has a firm grasp on the Commonwealth and the Hampton Roads region. 

Drug overdoses kill more Virginians than car crashes and gun violence combined. But it wasn’t always this way. 

Just 10 years ago, back in 2012, only 50 people died from fentanyl overdoses across Virginia.

But fentanyl first began really showing up on Virginia streets in 2014, and it's been a crisis ever since. 

This year, health officials estimate it will kill almost 2,000 Virginians.

Credit: Virginia Dept of Health

Portsmouth has one of the worst rates for drug overdoses in the Commonwealth.

And when it comes to the entirety of Hampton Roads, Medical Examiner data shows 279 overdose deaths in the first half of this year alone.

Credit: Virginia Dept of Health

The crisis has worsened every year since 2019. Overdoses from all types of drugs killed 1,628 Virginians that year, then 2,309 in 2020, and almost 2,669 in 2021. 

Credit: Virginia Dept of Health

The Virginia Department of Health projects 2022 will be another tough year, but it also estimates that there will be 100 fewer overdose deaths by the year's end.

That will be due to fewer deaths reported in the first and second quarters of this year. 

The crisis continues. 

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