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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

RICHARD A. JORGENSEN, MD, FACS
CORONER

DU PAGE COUNTY, ILLINOIS

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, March 14, 2022

Public Safety Announcement: DuPage Overdose Statistics 2021:

DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgensen, M.D. reports the following data concerning overdose deaths in DuPage County for the year 2021. The epidemic of opioid and other legal and illegal drugs continues to ravage our county. There was a decrease in the number of opioid related deaths (102 vs 112 in 2020) but this seemingly good news is tempered by the increase in the total number of overdose deaths (138 vs 130 in 2020). Over the past few years there has been a major shift in the types and number of drugs found in blood of the deceased. Prior to 2015 the drugs found were either Heroin or prescription drugs. Most often there was only one or two drugs in the system. However, starting in 2015 there was an influx of illicit Fentanyl in the FDA approved form and multiple new isomers. There was also an increase in polypharmacy, which means that there were multiple different drugs found in the system. In this past year we saw these trends accentuated. The most important trend is that Heroin is a minor drug at this point and Fentanyl has become the major drug causing death. Last year there was only one death solely due to Heroin, 13 due to Heroin plus Fentanyl and 17 with Heroin, Fentanyl and Cocaine. Fentanyl alone caused 29 deaths and Fentanyl and Cocaine caused 16 deaths. There were 102 opioid related deaths last year and only 36 (35%) involved Heroin while 83 (81%) had Fentanyl in the blood. It must be stated that the analysis of this information is very difficult due to the poly pharmacy. It was very unusual for an analysis to find one or two drugs. Rather, it was commonplace to find up to 15 drugs in the system making it difficult to determine which drug was responsible for the death.

There has also been an increase in non-opioid drugs, especially Cocaine and prescription medications causing or contributing to death. In total there were 26 (vs 18 in 2020) deaths that were due to non-opioid medications and 9 (vs 6 in 2020) due to Cocaine alone.

The previously noted trend of increasing age of the deceased has continued. In 2013 the most deaths were seen in the age group of the 20s and second most in the 30s. Last year the most common ages were the 30s through the 50s.

Opioid Overdose Death Data: 

                                                        2020                       2021

Total Overdose Deaths:                   130                        137 (+5%)

 Total Opioid Overdose:                    112                        102 (-9%)

Heroin alone:                                       5                             1

Heroin/Fentanyl mixture:                   30                            13

Heroin, Fentanyl and Cocaine.          14                            17

Fentanyl alone:                                  33                            29

Fentanyl and Cocaine:                       16                            16               

Opioid Prescription Meds:                    9                            11                        

Cocaine Only:                                      6                               9

Non Opioid overdoses:                      18                              26

 

Age of Opioid deaths:  2020                      2021

<19=                                                0                                      2

 20-29 =                                           38                                    24

 30-39 =                                           31                                    38

 40-49 =                                           18                                    24

 50-59 =                                           11                                    35

 60-69 =                                            6                                     13

70-79 =                                            1                                      2

80+:                                                 0                                      2

 

Sex:

 Female =                                         24%                        39%

Male      =                                        76%                         6 

Past Years:

 

2015

36 = Heroin alone

7 = Heroin/Fentanyl mixture

8 = Fentanyl alone

Total deaths=51

 

2016

36 = Heroin alone

26 = Heroin/Fentanyl mixture

16 = Fentanyl alone

17 = Opioid based Prescription Medications

Total deaths (illegal Drugs) = 78

Total deaths (all opioids) = 95

 

 2017

23 = Heroin alone

32 = Heroin/Fentanyl mixture

17 = Fentanyl alone

23 =Opioid based Prescription Medications

Total deaths (illegal Drugs) = 72

Total deaths (all opioids) = 95

 

2018

17 = Heroin alone

34 = Heroin/Fentanyl mixture

30 = Fentanyl alone

17 = Opioid based Prescription Medications

Total deaths (illegal Drugs) = 81 (13% increase over totals in 2017)

Total deaths (all opioids) = 98 (3% increase over totals in 2017)

 

2019

13 = Heroin alone

42 = Heroin/Fentanyl mixture

33 = Fentanyl alone

8 = Opioid based Prescription Medications

Total deaths (illegal Drugs) = 88 (8.6% increase over totals in 2018)

Total deaths (all opioids) = 96 (2% decrease over totals in 2018)

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