Trends In Opioid-Related Deaths In Kalamazoo County, Michigan
BACKGROUND: Over the past five years, the United States has seen a significant increase in drug overdose deaths, with over half involving an opioid. Opioid-related deaths in Kalamazoo County, Michigan were responsible for more than three-quarters of total drug-related deaths in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
OBJECTIVE: To better understand opioid-related deaths in Kalamazoo County, a one-year review of opioid-related deaths (September 2017 through August 2018) was performed to assess drug associations between opioid and non-opioid drugs, reported past drug use history, age, sex, and race.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The medical examiner's database was queried for drug-related deaths that included at least one opioid in Kalamazoo County. Fifty-five cases were identified and examined through data obtained by the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine Swift Toxicology for Opioid-Related Mortalities project.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Common drug associations included cocaine with fentanyl and morphine, ethanol with fentanyl, heroin with codeine, and 6-acetylmorphine with fentanyl. 87% had reported drug use based on medical examiner investigation. The average age at death was 39.4 years. 71% of individuals were male and 29% female, and 89% were white while 11% were African American.