Drug Deaths ‘off the Charts' in Heroin-Plagued Wilkes-Barre

Fentanyl use is on the rise in the United States, and William Lisman, the longtime coroner in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, is seeing the effects of the deadly drug first-hand, NBC News reported.

Last year there were 137 fatal drug overdoses — more than half of them the result of heroin laced with fentanyl — in the county of just 318,000 people, a death rate four times higher than New York City.

"Twenty years ago, we might have 12 deaths we determined to be drug deaths," Lisman said. "This year we are on track for 150 deaths…By our standards, it's off the charts."

Lisman lives in Wilkes-Barre, the county seat that researchers in 2014 deemed part of the most unhappy metro area in United States. When he realized fentanyl was quietly killing residents, he sounded the alarm.

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