LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Though opioid and heroin-related deaths went down across five mid-Michigan counties during 2022, there has been an increase in stimulant-related deaths.

Stimulant drugs include cocaine and meth.

Sparrow’s Office of the Medical Examiner has released an annual report on drug-related deaths for the past six years.

Sparrow’s report covers Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella and Shiawassee counties.

In 2021, the office reported the highest number of drug-related deaths. For 2022, total drug-related deaths decreased by 9%, or 18 fewer deaths, making 2022 Sparrow’s second-highest year for drug-related deaths.

Phil Pavona lost his 25-year-old son eric to a heroin overdose in 201, prompting him to start Families Against Narcotics in Ingham County.

He says Sparrow’s 2022 annual report reflects what he sees in the community every day.

The biggest change in this year’s report comes with stimulants.

Those deaths increased by 17% with a jump in cocaine overdoses by 35%. Amphetamine and methamphetamine also increased but only by four deaths.

Total drug-related deaths decreased by 9%, meaning 18 fewer people died compared to 2021.
However, 76% of all drug deaths were due to two or more substances. Opiates are involved in 82% of OD deaths this year.

It’s a trend they’ve been seeing over the past six years.

In Ingham county alone 115 out of the total 137 deaths involved at least one opioid.

Pavona speculates it’s because the fentanyl that used to be found primarily in opiates is now being found in meth and cocaine.

Most people who are ingesting these drugs don’t even know they could have other ingredients.

“We do not believe people are intending to buy pure fentanyl… They are all saying meth or cocaine or heroin yet they are all dying from fentanyl so very very serious on our streets right now,” said Pavona.

Again, the overall death count is down from last year but still out of the last six years, 2022’s ranks second.

Pavona says if you or anyone you know is struggling with substance abuse feel free to call Families Against Narcotics. Their number is 586-438-8500.

(Graph/Sparrow Office of the Medical Examiner)

The biggest change in the 2022 report showed that deaths linked to drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine increased by 17%, with a jump in cocaine overdoses by 35%.