DuPage seeing spike in drug overdose deaths
A spike in overdose deaths over the past three weeks, particularly involving opioids, is triggering alarm bells in DuPage County, Coroner Richard Jorgensen said in a news release Wednesday.
Jorgensen said there have been 20 overdose deaths during that period, compared to 96 opioid overdose deaths in all of last year.
"We do not know if this is due to a change in the makeup of the drugs, drug usage on the streets or due to current COVID-19 related changes in society," Jorgensen said in a written statement. "After review of the social aspects of the recent deaths, many of those who died were living alone, having personal or marital difficulty, depression and recent drug rehab or treatment."
Jorgensen said there are no obvious geographic or demographic trends and the deaths have been in all areas of the county.
DuPage State's Attorney Robert Berlin said that even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the county is facing "a severe opioid epidemic."
"Because of this, we must be vigilant in ensuring that resources allocated to fight COVID-19 are not taken from the resources previously intended to fight the opioid epidemic," he said in a written statement.
Jorgensen urged residents to reach out to those who are at high risk to see if they need support or help.
"We are all in this together and need to reach out to all of those who are vulnerable in this difficult time."