Preliminary state data shows the number of fatal drug overdoses in West Virginia hit a record last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

The number of suicidal incidents have increased in Calhoun County.

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.

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.

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