Opioid OD deaths in Kent County reach record level

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Newly released data is providing a clearer picture about the grip of the opioid epidemic on Kent County.

Last year, a record 105 people died from confirmed opioid-related overdoses, according to revised numbers from the Kent County Health Department. In March, the health department reported 93 opioid overdose deaths in 2017; that number increased as new toxicology reports came in.

A DEADLY MIX

The deadly mix of drugs included heroin, fentanyl and its more powerful cousin, carfentanil.

  • 19 deaths involved heroin without the presence of fentanyl
  • 30 deaths involved fentanyl without the presence of heroin
  • 25 deaths involved heroin and fentanyl
  • 1 death involved carfentanil
  • 1 death involved Mitragynine (Kratom) and was classified as opioid-related

THE FACE OF THE CRISIS

According to medical examiner records, the average age of someone who overdosed and died was 40 years old, but the death rate of men was almost double that of women.

Opioid overdose deaths were more prevalent among white and black residents, with a death rate of 17.2 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively. The opioid overdose death rate of Hispanics was less than half that, at 7.7 percent.

ADDRESSING THE PROBLEM

In partnership with the Grand Rapids Red Project, the Kent County Opioid Task Force is holding community forums to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and figure out how to effectively address it.

The first community forum is scheduled for Wednesday, May 2 at LINC UP, 1167 Madison Ave. SE in Grand Rapids. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the program starts at 6:30 p.m.

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