Drug use was deadly in Carbon County during 2012, according to Carbon County Coroner Bruce Nalesnik.

Of the 22 "accidental" deaths the coroner's office investigated, half of them were caused by drugs.

Nalesnik said he and his staff processed a total of 362 cases during 2012.

This included the 22 accidental deaths, 16 suicides, and four homicides.

The accidental deaths included:

Ÿ Eleven due to drug related activity.

Ÿ Four due to automobile accidents.

Ÿ Five due to drowning.

Ÿ One by carbon monoxide toxicity.

Ÿ One due to an ATV accident.

Of the 16 suicide deaths:

Ÿ Twelve were by handgun or rifle.

Ÿ Two were by carbon monoxide toxicity.

Ÿ One was by mixed drug toxicity.

Ÿ One was by asphyxiation due to hanging.

Nalesnik said two of the four homicides were by handgun or rifle and the other two were by blunt force trauma.

There were a total of 36 forensic autopsies performed under the guidance and authorization of the coroner's office in 2012.

"I would like to extend my appreciation and sincere thanks to all local police departments, the Pa. State Police, fire departments, and volunteer ambulance corps who, with their assistance at the scene, were instrumental in conducting a thorough investigation," Nalesnik stated.

"I would also like to express a note of appreciation to the Carbon County District Attorney's Office for their continued cooperation and support as we are also fortunate to have a dedicated and experienced group of deputy coroners that provide a professional and thorough service to Carbon County."

He said, "In closing, 2012 was a challenging year, and I wish to thank the commissioners for their continued cooperation in allowing the coroner's office to function in a professional and ethical manner. It is always my goal to provide an optimum level of service, while at the same time not imposing a financial burden to the taxpayers of Carbon County."