Drug overdoses continue to rise in region

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  • Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Beloit Fire Department paramedic Nick Keating has responded to multiple overdose calls since joining the department, and says Narcan, an opioid inhibitor, can help save lives.

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    Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Beloit Fire Department paramedic Nick Keating shows an example of Naloxone, a common drug used in preventing overdose deaths by first responders across the country, in a BFD ambulance at Fire Station One on Monday afternoon.

  • Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Beloit Fire Department paramedic Nick Keating has responded to multiple overdose calls since joining the department, and says Narcan, an opioid inhibitor, can help save lives.

  • 1

    Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Beloit Fire Department paramedic Nick Keating shows an example of Naloxone, a common drug used in preventing overdose deaths by first responders across the country, in a BFD ambulance at Fire Station One on Monday afternoon.

BELOIT - Drug overdoses are rising on both sides of the state line, with both Winnebago County and Rock County reporting higher numbers for 2018.

The results are contained in preliminary reports from the Rock County Medical Examiner's Office and Winnebago County Coroner's Office.

In Rock County, Medical Examiner's Office Director of Operations Barry Irmen told the Beloit Daily News 28 overdose deaths had been reported as of August. Irmen stressed the data was still being compiled for a final report that's expected in March, with a total of 54 outstanding cases to be ruled on.

"There are many cases that aren't ruled yet," Irmen said.

Rock County saw 45 overdose deaths in 2017 and 39 overdose deaths in 2016.

In Winnebago County, overdose deaths surged past the 2017 total of 124 even at the preliminary mark, according to Coroner Office Bill Hintz, with 125 overdose deaths reported as of November 20.

Over 80 percent of overdose deaths occurred in the City of Rockford, according to Hintz's report.

The detailed report shows fentanyl, heroin and cocaine as the three leading drugs that caused overdose deaths, with combinations of the drugs commonly found in the systems of overdose victims.

In 2017, fentanyl was involved with 63 of the 124 overdose deaths, with heroin involved in 55 deaths and cocaine involved in 55 deaths in 2017.

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