Report shows drug-related deaths are up in five Michigan counties

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Sparrow Forensic Pathology has released its annual report for 2018, showing drug-related deaths are up overall across five Michigan counties.

According to the report, total drug-related deaths across Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella and Shiawassee counties increased by 5.9% from the previous year. Ingham County had the most drug and opioid-related deaths of the five counties.

The report analyzed drugs including opioids, cocaine, benzodiazephine and others.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines opioids as a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.

Ingham County

In 2018, Ingham County recorded 100 total drug deaths, where a majority of the deaths resulted from opioids and specifically, fentanyl.

In Ingham county alone, a separate Q2 2019 report shows a greater than 50 percent increase of opioid, fentanyl, cocaine, amphetamine/methamphetamine-related deaths.

The increases for Ingham county drug-related deaths are as follows

  • opioid- related: + 52.9%
  • fetanyl: +50%
  • cocaine-related deaths: +100%
  • amphetamine/methamphetamine: +200%
Opioid related deaths in 5 counties in Q1 & Q2 of 2018 and 2019. Graph by WLNS Staff

In 2018, opioid deaths accounted for 83 %of drug-related deaths in Ingham County compared with Ionia County, where opioids accounted for 50% of drug-related deaths.

2018 Office of the Medican Examiner Drug Report
2018 Office of the Medican Examiner Drug Report

The pathology lab serves as the Medical Examiner for five Michigan counties: Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella and Shiawassee.

The report states that 88% of all drug-related deaths in Q2 2019 were due to two or more substances.

The report comes amid the ongoing national opioid epidemic in which drug makers have distributed more than 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills to U.S. pharmacies.

The CDC reports opioids accounted for 67.8% of all drug overdose in the United States in 2017.

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