HAMILTON, Ohio — The coroner in a southwestern Ohio county says accidental overdoses spiked more than 20 percent last year, driven in large part by the rise of fentanyl and other powerful opioids.

Butler County Coroner Lisa Mannix said Tuesday that her office investigated 232 overdoses in 2017. It was the fourth consecutive year with a rise in drug deaths.

Mannix said she has seen a shift from cases involving heroin alone to those also involving fentanyl or similar drugs.

She said combating the drug problem provides a “moving target” and hopes the county’s overdose prevention efforts can stop the rise in 2018.

Scott Rasmus, head of a local mental health and addiction board, says the drug crisis is becoming “more potent and lethal as each month passes.”

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