LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Sparrow’s Forensic Pathology Services released its annual report on deaths in five Mid-Michigan counties.
Data shows that death is on the rise in Ingham, Eaton, Ionia, Isabella and Shiawassee counties.
“The total number of deaths across those five counties is just up from where it was in 2020,” said Michelle Fox, a forensic pathology at Sparrow. “So we had 348 more deaths overall that include natural deaths, deaths at home [and] deaths at a nursing facility.”
A sizeable portion of those comes from drug-related deaths, which is in line with the national trend.
The CDC reported that drug-related deaths are up 15% in the last two years.
“Whatever drug is out there you never know what your getting anymore and [that] is literally the scariest part about it,” said Corey Warren, the president of the Rise Community Recovery.
Warren said he believes fentanyl is a big part of the problem.
“A relapse for somebody who is addicted to heroin that could be the last time you ever see that person,” continued Warren.
Sparrow’s report also showed an increase in homicides in four of its counties, except for Ionia County.
“The total homicides across our service area which was the 5 counties is up from 32 to 43,” said Fox.
The report also pointed out that organ donations have increased in the last two years.
“This year it was noted that our referrals to Gift of Life and organ donation were up by 33%, which is always a positive,” continued Fox.
Several national studies on the topic have attributed the increases partly due to the pandemic, but Sparrow officials did not confirm if that was a factor.