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Accidental drug overdoses on the rise in Spokane

Accidental drug overdoses on the rise...

SPOKANE, Wash. - According to the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Annual Report, there were 125 deaths from accidental drug overdoses last year.

"Gone are the days where it was something that you'd just see on the street corner of a bad city," said Rick Freier, a veteran of the Spokane County Fire Department.

This year's figure is nearly 30 percent higher than in 2015, and almost double the amount of deaths from 2014.

A closer look at the numbers reveals an even tougher truth. Four everyday pharmaceutical drugs each contributed to more than a dozen deaths (Oxycodone - 16, Morphine - 15, Methadone - 15, Hydrocodone - 14.)

While first responders have been able to evolve with the problem, developing resources that have saved countless lives - the epidemic is growing too fast. Ultimately, as Rick Freier explains, our biggest weapon against this threat is communication.

"I have friends who have battled with this. I don't know what the answer is to solve it but being aware that it can happen is the first step."