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August 13, 2022

DuPage County Coroner: Suicides/Overdoses increased 52% during the onset of Covid-19 shelter at home

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On August 21, 2020

DuPage County, IL. (ECWd) –

Public Safety Announcement: Surge in Overdose and Suicide Deaths Review First 6 Months of 2020.

Public Safety Announcement: Surge in Overdose and Suicide Deaths

Review First 6 Months of 2020.  

On Wednesday, May 13, 2020 DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgensen, M.D. reported on preliminary data indicating an alarming increase in overdose deaths in DuPage County. This Public Service Announcement is a follow up to that initial report with an in-depth review of all deaths due to overdose in the first six (6) months of 2020, during the onset of Covid 19 shelter at home compared to the same period in 2019.

These overdoses deaths are particularly difficult because they represent the premature end of a life, made worse by the fact that the majority of fatal overdoses occur in the young; they leave family, friends and community with grief and inevitable questions of “what if”.

A thorough investigation and review of every overdose case has been undertaken to understand the circumstances and cause of this rise in overdose deaths.  Personal, demographic and toxicological information was collected and reviewed to identify trends on who and how these overdoses occurred in the hope of fostering a better understanding of the problem and identifying potential solutions both on a personal and societal level.

Overdose Death Data: 

Overall Deaths 1/1/2019-6/30/2019 -46

Overall Deaths 1/1/2020-6/30/2020 -70 (52% increase)

Age

AGE <19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69
M F M F M F M F M F Male Female
All 1 25 20 10 9 5 70
PRE 0 6 4 2 4 1 17
COVID 0 0 6 0 3 1 0 2 3 1 1 0
POST 1 19 16 8 5 4 53
COVID 0 1 16 3 10 6 7 1 4 1 2 2

Pre Covid-19 Lockdown (76 days 42% of the time) = 17 overdoses

Post Covid-19 Lockdown (105 days 58% of the time) =  53 overdoses

Ethnicity:

(Numbers in parenthesis are DuPage County census data)

Caucasian (77.9%):   #-56 = 78.2 %

Black*        (4.6%)      #-6 = 8.7 %

Hispanic   (13.3%):    # 5- =7.3 %

Asian         (10.1%)     #-2 = 2.9 %

* two of the African-American deceased were not residents of DuPage Co.

Sex:

Female =24%

Male      =76%

In summary, the number of overdose deaths have increased by 52% over the same period in 2019. The majority of this increase was during the “Shelter at Home” COVID-19 period. In Jan/ Feb the number of overdoses were less than 2019, so the large increase was more profound in looking at the next four months. There were 17 OD’s in the Pre-COVID time frame compared to 15 in the same time frame of 2019. During the COVID quarantine there were 53 deaths (30 during the same time frame of 2019). The age ranges continue to represent a majority of 20- and 30-year olds. However, there were 4 (four) persons in their 60’s. The ethnic background parallels the makeup of DuPage County as cited in the 2010 census report. As in all previous evaluation’s males were approximately 76% of those who died.

Dr Jorgensen stated “Evaluation of each case reveals a common thread. Almost every case of overdose revealed that the deceased person had a history of mental health issues, depression, personal, financial or marital problems, previous drug dependence or rehabilitation or were living alone. It is suggested by these findings that the most vulnerable in our society are being affected negatively by the COVID-19 shutdown and response to isolation and lack of treatment availability. I have reached out to multiple rehabilitation leaders and they confirm the increase in those seeking rehabilitation, drug use relapse and instances of fatal and non-fatal overdoses in their patients and community.”

Nick Gore, a VP at The Indiana Center for Recovery stated, “We, and every other treatment facility that I know are filled to maximum capacity with long waiting lists. The quarantine has been devastating to those in treatment and continuing sobriety. Shelter at Home limits those in treatment and recovery the ability to meet with treatment professionals, sponsors or the society and companionship that is the bedrock for most treatment programs and continued sobriety.”

Dr Jorgensen contacted to State’s Attorney Bob Berlin to seek his perspective on this problem, Mr. Berlin stated, “The profound increase in overdose deaths documented by Coroner Jorgensen is a disturbing reminder that illegal narcotics continue to devastate our communities. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic we must continue to dedicate resources to combat the opioid epidemic and provide greater opportunities for treatment.”

Coroner Jorgensen reiterated his conclusions: “It appears that an unforeseen collateral consequence of the stresses of “Shelter at Home” which resulted in isolation, lack of community and companionship is taking its toll on the most vulnerable of our society. If you know of people who are at high risk: known drug users those in rehabilitation, persons living alone, having personal, financial or marital difficulty, mental health issues or depression, please reach out (you can still wear masks and social distance) and talk to them and see if they need companionship, support or help. These are difficult times made worse when an individual has drug and/or mental health issues. We are all in this together and need to reach out to all of those who are vulnerable in this difficult time.

Overview of Suicide Data for the same period will be published in a later Public Service Announcement.

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16 Comments
  • Dave
    Posted at 11:49h, 21 August

    Wow, very sad! The MSM and the democrats refuse to say it but I will. The communist Chinese hid the truth about the virus, even lied to President Trump about the facts. That was of course to hide the fact they were working on biological weapons. The Communists even allowed flights of nationals out of China but didn’t allow foreigners into China. They are despicable. .There have been over 170,000 American COVID-19 deaths and untold trillions of dollars lost. I wonder just how many American Chinese COVID-19 related deaths must there be during this pandemic before you back America and our president by holding the communist Chinese government accountable? Not to mention the huge financial cost, estimated to be $7 -$10 trillion dollars. July 30th, it was reported “the United States GDP fell 32.9% in the second quarter of 2020, the Department of Commerce reported, marking the largest decline the country has ever seen.” The record GDP decline is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet that Chinese dictator plays games and tries to act like a victim, when America is their victim. The latest from From Washington DC (AP) “Evidence signals many jobs aren’t coming back” The communist Chinese govt made war on America and has won. Let’s put things in perspective, the Vietnam war lasted nearly 20 years and less than 59,000 Americans lost their lives. The communist Chinese’ Wuhan virus has killed over 170,000 Americans. The Vietnam War cost $168 billion or about $1 trillion in today’s dollars. Tens of thousands of American businesses are going under and joblessness has exploded because the communist Chinese govt turned the deadly man-made COVID-19 loose on America. The virus release on America by the communist China is an act of war….. China is liable for the many trillions of dollars we Americans have lost because of their biological weapon! There is allot of blood on the hands of the communist Chinese govt. Back shooting Commie China, take a long walk on a short pier….. you screwed us and we won’t forget!

  • Sarah
    Posted at 11:49h, 21 August

    Um…. that’s what happens when you isolate people and destroy their livelihoods. Pritzker is a murderer. It’s that simple.

  • Jack Kevvorkkian
    Posted at 11:57h, 21 August

    Just as the generally accepted theory that night follows day, the suicide statistics appear to me mostly as a result of DuPage County turning blue from red.

  • jannie
    Posted at 12:22h, 21 August

    It is very interesting. Though certainly understandable that in times of crisis people who were drug users may revert back, especially if they don’t have a strong family relationship. And, personally I think one of the worse things ever done was (instead of improving mental institutions) we threw them out. Admittedly, “back in the day” people who should not have been put there were. But, Much of our homeless situation has to do with people with “true mental illness”. It’s unfortunate, I don’t know why people want to “blame the governor – but I suppose it’s his fault there’s the Covid-19 virus – those that want to make everything “political” will.

    • Sarah
      Posted at 13:11h, 21 August

      Other than…

      A.) propagating the fear despite the numbers indicating that COVID is equivalent to a bad flu
      B.) arbitrarily closing peoples businesses and preventing them from earning a living (that would be contributing to the “homeless situation” you mention)
      C.) arbitrarily deeming people “non-essential”, which by the way translates to English as “I don’t give a damn if you die”
      D.) doing nothing about the escalating violence, rioting, and looting across the state,
      E.) preventing people from going about their daily lives, including preventing them from being able to seek any help or care they would need because of his mass business closure
      F.) encouraging discrimination and not distancing himself from violence against people who don’t obey his illegal orders to wear a face-diaper

      …I guess there really is no reason to blame the governor for all this.

      COVID-19 became political the instant the governor and mayors started using it as an excuse to grab power and start trying to control every aspect of peoples’ daily lives. As if there is a one-size-fits-all template that would work for every individual human being on the planet and as if we as Americans don’t have God-given rights outlined in the Constitution. But, then again I know that the size of a sheep’s brain is roughly the size of a half-dollar, so I would not expect you to understand this. Baaaaa!

    • HT
      Posted at 12:19h, 24 August

      Nice of you Sarah, for providing a list to those w/ a memory of a goldfish. Except goldfish are beautiful creatures.

      If anyone forgot that this is not political, please reconcile these:
      – Closed all small businesses, leaving the big ones alone, and definitely leaving his side hustle in the Pot business untouched. Oh, and the abortion clinics stayed open as well. Woohoo!
      – Sent his family to a less strict state to enjoy their time. Spent his time partying in Lake Geneva w/o any restrictions. By the way, check out how some other dems governors and “leaders” managed their strict shutdowns too:
      – Larry Lightweight never missed her hair appointment during the lockdown.
      – CA: Newsome sent his kids to Idaho to be free from his shutdown.
      – PA: The director of public health quietly moved his/its/her mom to a private hotel, right before the governor force nursing homes to accept sick patients back into the nursing homes (just like NY). This definitely gave them a nice spike in number of deaths to play with,
      – NY: both the governor and his privileged brother got to have some gyms to open up just for them to workout, while not allowing any citizens to do so.
      – Encouraged protesting that led to looting everywhere. But of course, we all know that covid absolved those who are woke!

      Lastly, nice of you to be so kind to the governor. Are you a teacher? A government worker? A government relative? Where do you make your living? Do you even care how small business people feed their families?
      Can you read at 5th grade level to understand the Constitution?

      Sure, keep staying silent on these questions and keep asking stupid questions. Sometimes, stupid questions are just that. Stupid.

  • Mags
    Posted at 17:45h, 21 August

    The local County and Municipal Elected officials take some of the blame for going along with the Governor’s lawlessness and not having any common sense. Going along to get along for politics. Hopefully the voters will hold all of them accountable. Those that are up in November will hopefully be replaced and those that are not, will hopefully be replaced when their seats are up.

    This did not need to happen. Very unfortunate that so many were willing to give up freedoms and living because they listened to bad politicians and fake news fear mongering.

    The media owns a big part of this as well. They have been putting FEAR PORN out on a daily basis.

    They are all a disgrace.

  • PK
    Posted at 20:10h, 21 August

    Along with COVID deaths, hospitalizations and positivity test results, IDPH’s mission would require similar metrics for such tragic loss increase on a statewide basis.

  • Lara
    Posted at 18:16h, 22 August

    Interesting, no trolls in the comments. Maybe they have some scruples after all.

  • Anita Sweater
    Posted at 23:12h, 23 August

    I actually consider all covidiots to be trolls. They are under the trauma based mind control to believe in a fake disease.

    • Question
      Posted at 10:29h, 26 August

      Did 170,000 Americans fake their own death with the fake disease?

      • COOL GUY
        Posted at 22:49h, 26 August

        Many of us in our sadness and frustration say “it’s a hoax” or “it’s all fake”. We apologize for not properly expressing ourselves. Here’s a translation: “We know that there is such a virus called COVID-19, and it is (so far) slightly a little worse than the normal seasonal flue. The PANIC being driven by various government officials, news media, and other influential types is FAKE”

      • HT
        Posted at 23:45h, 26 August

        Even if we were to blindly believe the number of death from this virus as true, we’re looking at a .0496%. !!!!!

        Once you parse it by age, preexisting condition, comorbidities, you’ll see that it’s the same thing we’ve known since the very beginning. Old age, obesity, lung disease, smokers, diabetes, and heart conditions make up most of the deaths.

        Do you even know the financial incentive for politicians and hospitals to list this virus as the cause of death? Why were hospitals allowed to list this virus as the cause of death for overdose deaths, auto accident deaths, DNR cases in nursing homes?

        When was the last time any independent 3rd party expert audited or validated any of the positivity rates or deaths? Could it be that the public is not allowed to see such transparency because it would crush the leverage that the dems politicians have?

        You’re freaking out that 170,000 out of 343,000,000 are dead, yet you never thought to ask why was it that a country of over 1.3 billion people who gave the world this virus, only had a few thousands dead from it. And, that the virus never touched any other of its massive cities, while free to pass around the globe. Ever thought maybe there are a lot of shady things about this whole thing that these dems use to capitalize on hurting this country’s economy?

        So you think this thing is the deadliest thing around? In what science fiction novel are you living?

        Fear is crippling your brain from applying some logic and reason.

        • Sarah
          Posted at 09:34h, 27 August

          I will add some philosophical thoughts. The only thing anyone is ever guaranteed in life is that they will die. Most of us would like to put that off as long as possible, but you can never fully hazard proof life and you will be disappointed with the results if you try. You can only try to manage things as best you can for yourself and hope for the best. That said, it is you who is responsible for your own health and wellbeing. If you are worried that you will get sick, injured, or have anything else bad happen to you then you should sit by the sidelines while the rest of us play the game. Forcing the world to alter their daily lives and routines just because you are afraid is more than a bit selfish, unreasonable, and unsustainable. Given that is exactly the approach we as a society have taken, no one should really be all that shocked that we are starting to build a world that is not worth living in. The fear and cowardice of the general population is creating a Hell in which we may very well start to envy the dead. No one takes their own life because they are happy. Suicide happens when you feel you no longer have control over your life and when you are sure your circumstances will never change no matter how hard you try to alter them, That is the world we have built and until we change it this trend will continue. All you people out there demanding we shut down our lives, destroy our freedom and livelihoods, and muzzle our faces in the name of COVID to show our care and respect for our fellow human beings, what about those who die hopeless and alone? Where is the demand for care and compassion for them?

          • HT
            Posted at 10:27h, 27 August

            Good thought and question.

            The most revealing word in “virtue signaling” is, you guessed it, just signaling.

          • Sarah
            Posted at 10:52h, 27 August

            Thank you, I suppose. I’ve been there at least twice in my life, and have had a lot of time to think about it after the fact. The only reason I am still here is because I had friends who sacrificed time, resources, and energy to be there for me and who asked for nothing in return. Not that you can ever pay back something like that. Those same friends are now absent in my life because someone made them too afraid to interact with other people, including me. I am blessed at present. I am one of the lucky people who still has a job and is stable financially, though I cannot go to grocery stores anymore because masked assailants keep trying to pick fist fights with me and I would rather not hurt (or yes, potentially kill) someone if I don’t have to. I wonder, though, when my present good fortune dries up, will I revert back to the overwhelming despair I have experienced in the past? And this time, will someone be there for me? When there are so many others who are worse off than I, would I even want someone to divert that kind attention to me? I am more afraid of the answers to those questions than I am of any virus.

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