BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — With January coming to a close, there have already been nearly three dozen deaths across Jefferson County that have been suspected to have been caused by drugs, the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office reports.

On Monday, Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Yates released a new report about deaths his office has investigated that were due to drug overdoses. According to Yates, there were 416 confirmed deaths from drug overdoses in 2022 alone, while 32 were suspected to have been from drugs. So far in 2023, there have 34 suspected drug deaths, but none have been confirmed.

Since Sunday, there have been six suspected deaths from drugs.

“We have seen drug fatalities shift over the past eight years from prescription opioids, to heroin, to fentanyl, and now to fentanyl being mixed into all illicit substances in our communities,” Yates wrote.

Yates said that for several years, white men between the ages of 40 and 49 were the primary demographic for the most drug fatalities. However, for the first time in Jefferson County’s history, Black men now lead that figure.

“The Black community, male and female, has seen staggering percentage increases since 2019,” he said. “With this said, I plan on including the following drug fatality updates in the daily media releases, to keep you informed on what I believe to be the most concerning type of death our community is facing.”

A running report on deaths investigated by the coroner’s office can be viewed here.