In 2015, there were 101 heroin-related deaths spread across Orange and Osceola counties – and that number is still rising as more reports come in, the District Nine Medical Examiner’s Office says.

The previous several years have seen a gradual rise in heroin-related deaths across the two counties, starting at only 19 in 2011 and hitting 90 by 2014.

Of the 101 deaths in 2015, 82 were from Orange County, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

In 2014, there were 606 heroin submissions to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab, a 400 percent increase since 2010, according to the Orange County Heroin Task Force.

District Nine Interim Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Stephany said the recent boom in heroin deaths was because, in part, of how easy it is to get. He also added that it was part of a nationwide problem.

“Heroin is accessible,” he said. “It’s easy, cheap and pure. Pill mills are being closed down, the prescription drugs are harder to get now. People who were hooked on prescription drugs are going to heroin.”

The Orange County Heroin Task Force will have a meeting March 14 at the BCC chambers at 201 S. Rosalind Avenue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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