Most Fatal Drug Overdoses in Kalamazoo County Last Year Involved Opioids

Jul 18, 2018

Pills containing the opioid oxycodone.
Credit Patrick Sison / AP Photo

Opioids continue to play a major role in deaths from drug overdose in Kalamazoo County. Most fatal overdoses in Kalamazoo County last year involved at least one opioid, according to the Office of the Medical Examiner. In 66 deadly overdoses in 2017, not including suicides, opioids played a role about 75 percent of the time.

The county has seen a steep rise in overdose deaths in recent years. Medical Examiner Joyce deJong says that 42 people died from an accidental drug overdose in the first half of this year.

“If that maintains, if that’s reflective of what we did the first six months and what we see the second six months, we would be at 84. So it certainly doesn’t seem to be decreasing at all,” she told the Kalamazoo County Commission on Tuesday.

DeJong says many of the deaths involve an illegally produced variety of the opioid fentanyl.

“This is fentanyl not from the patches but illicitly produced fentanyl, and even more so our latest big surge has been something called acetylfentanyl,” she said.