The Kenosha County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Kenosha County Division of Health are issuing a warning about opioid and opiate use after a string of four suspected overdose deaths in Kenosha County in the last five days.
In 2017, Kenosha County had 57 confirmed deaths due to toxicity with three cases still pending. This is an increase from the 54 deaths in 2016.
Notably, 22 of last year’s deaths involved fentanyl, whereas in 2016 only six deaths involved fentanyl or a fentanyl analog. In 2018, there are already three confirmed toxicity deaths, and with these recent deaths there are 21 cases pending results.
“Overdose deaths have been a concern for a long time, but this recent number of them in a short amount of time is particularly alarming for a community of our size,” said Kenosha County Medical Examiner Patrice Hall. “Lake County, Illinois, is four times as large as Kenosha County but had just 24 more toxicity deaths than we did in 2017.”
Fentanyl is not only being mixed in with heroin, but also cocaine and marijuana, Hall said. “There is no way to know if fentanyl has been added to any illicit drugs or substances,” the medical examiner cautioned.
The recent deaths are awaiting confirmatory toxicology results, with final results expected in three to four months. Most of these pending cases involve the suspected use of opioids/opiates. Opioid drugs include Percocet, Vicodin, oxycodone and fentanyl, while opiates include heroin, morphine and codeine.
“We aim to save lives through prevention and safety measures,” said Cynthia Johnson, director of the Kenosha County Division of Health. “There are many resources available for those struggling with drug addiction, and for the people around them. We urge people to explore those options.”
Further information about prevention, treatment, and resources are listed below:
FREE NARCAN TRAININGS & EDUCATION
KNOW WHAT A SUSPECTED OVERDOSE LOOKS LIKE
For more information, please call the Kenosha County Division of Health at 262-605-6700 or visit http://www.kenoshacounty.org/.