DuPage Coroner: Number Of Opioid Deaths ‘Startling’

Steve Miller
February 22, 2018 - 8:34 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — “Startling” is how the DuPage County coroner describes the number of deaths his office is seeing from opioids – in particular, from a combination of heroin and fentanyl.

In 2015, DuPage County had seven deaths connected to opioids.

Last year the total was 32 - an increase of more than 350 percent.

“The number of people that we see that are in their teens and twenties are staggering. The majority of them are under thirty,” said Dr. Richard Jorgensen, the DuPage County coroner.

“This epidemic is taking our youth. It’s taking and destroying families of young people. These are the people that, if we get them into rehab, we get them into living a healthy lifestyle, we can save years and years of productive lives.”

Dr. Jorgensen has lived his entire life in DuPage County.

"To now imagine seeing a 15-year-old kid die with a needle in his arm, in my own community, it's scary," he said. "I never thought it would occur in DuPage County or anywhere - the scope of this."

Dr. Jorgensen said the number of deaths from opioids would be significantly higher if police and other officials weren’t equipped with the opioid antidote Naloxone.

Article originally published January 24, 2018.