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Drug-related deaths up in Ingham, Eaton counties by more than 33 percent

Posted at 6:54 PM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 18:54:48-05

LANSING, Mich. — There were 157 drug-related deaths in Eaton and Ingham counties last year, a 33 percent increase from the year before.

Local health officials said those numbers have been growing year over year.

“I can’t give the correlation of what socioeconomic issues that are promoting more users and more drug deaths, but I do know drugs are constantly changing,” said head of Sparrow's forensic pathology supervisor.

In 2020, Eaton County had 25 accidental overdose deaths and 1 suicide for a total of 26, according to the annual medical examiners report released by Sparrow Health, which serves as medical examiner for several counties surrounding Lansing. That's much higher than the 9 drug related deaths Eaton County had in 2019. Last year, 88 percent of Eaton County’s drug related deaths were opiod related.

“Some years we see a lot of synthetics, other years we’re down to just fentanyl and opioids,” Fox said. “So it’s an ever-evolving market of what we’re seeing."

The report shows that Ingham County had 124 accidental overdose deaths, 3 suicides and 4 that were indeterminate for a total of 131 drug related deaths in 2020. That’s the highest in at least 5 years, and most of those deaths involved an opioid. The youngest person who died from an overdose in Ingham County was just a year old.

“I think it hits home for anyone who works in our field when it’s a child that’s young or close to your kid’s age,” Fox said.

And while drug-related deaths have gone up, the medical examiner’s office wants the public to remember one thing.

“There are programs that are brought into play that can assist families with drug deaths and we have opioid prevention teams and things like that,” Fox said.

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Tianna Jenkins

12:23 PM, Jan 12, 2021

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