BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF)

There’s a deadly trend that the Belmont County coroner says is killing more people than ever.

Fentanyl is being added to more drugs, even those that people believe are not “hard core.”

It’s turning up in virtually everything, including marijuana and vape solution.

In Belmont County, one man crushed up and inhaled what looked like Percocet.

They found him dead, with the straw still in his hand.

Some overdose victims are abandoned by their companions, left to die alone.

Others are dumped out of a vehicle at the hospital door.

“They’ve rolled up in front of the emergency room and rolled their buddy out of the car and left,” said Tim Skinner, chief investigator for the coroner. “The emergency room workers will see something going on and go out, and they find a body lying there.”

“They’re scared of law enforcement coming,” said Lori Mann, coroner’s investigator. “Scared of being seen there with them.”

The coroner’s staff deals with the families left behind.

“I’ve had some family members that were really torn up and grieving, who didn’t know what was going on.” said Skinner. “And I’ve had other family members who look at me and say, ‘We knew it was coming, and thank God it’s over.’ “

The coroner and her staff are on a mission to inform people about fentanyl hidden in other drugs.

“They may have gotten a pill from the cousin of a friend,” said Skinner. “And who knows where it came from. There could be fentanyl pressed into it. Or it could be pure fentanyl.”

So why would drug traffickers add this ingredient that could kill their paying customers?

“In that crowd, you’re not considered a drug dealer until you’ve killed at least three people,” said Skinner. “Then it’s good stuff.”

Deadly outcomes are considered collateral damage, or even proof of potency.

“It sometimes gets brutal in that world,” Skinner concluded.

Dr. Fisher and her staff are taking this information to the public, to schools and youth groups, to emphasize the heightened dangers  involved in any kind of drug use because of fentanyl.

You can see more stories in Part 1 on this report, Hidden In Plain Sight: Fentanyl, Part One, A Special Report