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Pearl River County could have 18th overdose death

Preliminary investigation shows Pearl River County could have its 18th overdose death so far this year, but the case is still under investigation.

Chief Investigator Donnie Saucier with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department said deputies responded to a call of an unresponsive man at a home located in Carriere, on Friday.

When the deputies arrived they found a 48-year-old man deceased but an investigation into his death showed no signs of foul play, Saucier said.

Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage said he suspects the cause of death to be due to an overdose of prescription narcotics, but he is awaiting the results of a toxicology screen to confirm his suspicion. If the toxicology report backs up his preliminary cause of death, this case will become the 18th death in this county this year due to a drug overdose, Turnage said.

Turnage said the problem also involves overdoses that do not lead to death.

Highland Community Hospital’s CEO Mark Stockstill said that according to figures recorded at the hospital’s emergency room there have been about 49 patients come through its doors for treatment of an overdose of some sort of drug and survived. The figures are from October of 2011 to the end of September of this year, he said.

Stockstill said most of those patients overdosed on some sort of prescription medication, whether legally obtained or not. Those figures, Stockstill said, do not include patients who came to the hospital for treatment of health problems associated indirectly with the abuse of drugs, such as a failing liver.