West Central Illinois bucked a grim trend when it came to overdose deaths last year.
Several national news outlets reported that more than 93,000 drug overdose deaths occurred last year, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The report said many addiction specialists, drug counselors and policy experts blamed the 30% increase on a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued spread of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in the illegal narcotic supply.
The most common overdose deaths nationwide were attributed to opioids, methamphetamine, and cocaine. According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health’s vital statistics, overdose deaths in Brown, Cass, Greene, Morgan, Pike, and Scott counties went down over the past 3 years. Overdose deaths in the 6 county region was at 34 in 2018 and fell down to 29 last year. Any drug involving an opioid is the common cause of overdose, with at least 10 deaths over the last 3 years.
Nationally, the number of overdose deaths was more than double the estimated number of motor vehicle fatalities. In the 6 county region, they are about the same with traffic crashes actually being more fatal.
According to IDPH’s Drug Overdose Prevention Program portal, the Sangamon County Department of Public Health and the Human Services Center which covers the 6 county radius, the number of trained individuals in their went up over last year’s fourth quarter, and the distribution of naloxone kits doubled likely leading to overdose prevention in the area.