BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New numbers show Erie County surpassed 200 deaths last year linked to the growing heroin epidemic.
Records obtained from the Erie County Health Department show 203 opioid deaths in 2015. That's a dramatic 60% increase from 2014.
The victims are predominantly male (71%), white (87%) and between the ages of 20 and 39 (59%).
While heroin used to be an inner city drug problem, it is now widespread. In Erie County, 46% of the overdose deaths in 2015 occurred in the City of Buffalo, with 39% in the suburbs and 9% in the rural areas of the county.
It's not just heroin causing deaths. In fact, Fentanyl alone accounted for 43% of the opioid deaths. Only 12% were linked solely to heroin. Another 16% were a combination of the two, and the remaining 29% were attributed to "other opioids".
While Buffalo saw more of these drug overdoses than any other municipality, other places were also hard hit: Amherst saw 15 overdose deaths, the Town of Tonawanda had 12, Cheektowaga 11 and 6 each for Hamburg, Lackawanna and West Seneca.
Although it's now mid-February, these numbers could continue to rise, because it can take a while for the health department to receive complete toxicology reports and full autopsies.