Prescription drug-related deaths mounting in county

(Riverton, Wyo.) - The last two verdicts and case dockets on non-natural deaths in Fremont County both indicated the victims died accidentally related to alcohol and drug use and mixed drug interactions, respectively. Chief Deputy Coroner Erin Ivie said Monday that so far in 2016, there have been 16 drug and alcohol related deaths recorded. Three of those deaths were due solely to drug use. For the first quarter of this year, drug and alcohol-related deaths accounted for 28 percent of all the coroner calls, compared with 19 percent in 2015 and only 10 percent in 2014. In the latest cases, Ivie said the death of 33-year-old Brian Wright of Lander on March 26th was due to "Mixed Drug Interaction." Wright died in Riverton. The relevant toxicology report indicated Wright's system contained 940 ng/mL of Oxycodone, 300 ng/mL of Diazepam; 140 ng/mL of Clonazepam and 140 ng/mL of Methamphetamine. With the exception of the methamphetamine, the other drugs are all respiratory depressants. The normal therapeutic level of Oxycodone, for instance, is under 100 ng/mL or, if the drug is prescribed for time release, under 10 ng/mL. The levels for frequent users of the drug can be much higher, Ivie said. Deputy Coroner Tad Curtin said the death of 62-year-old Lea M. Donze of Lander on March 23rd was due to "Respiratory Insufficiency due to Elevated ETOH and Oxycodone Levels." The relevant toxicology in this death showed Donze's system contained 0.122 percent alcohol and 280 ng/mL of Oxycodone. Curtin said the levels of each drug were not fatal, but, as in the Wright case, the drugs act as respiratory depressants, especially when combined. *Feature Photo: via Google Images / Pitchengine Communities* #county10 #news