To open Wednesday night’s overdose awareness meeting at Huntington North High School, Huntington County Sheriff Chris Newton shared a news alert he received earlier in the day: more than 100,000 people have died of drug overdoses in the United States during the 12 months ending last April.

That somber milestone was reported earlier Wednesday by the New York Times, citing data from the National Center for Health Statistics. This is the first time overdose deaths have surpassed 100,000 over any 12 month period in the country’s history, and represented a nearly 30 percent increase from the 78,000 deaths in that same period from the previous year.