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Local News

County coroners feel weight of increased costs to investigate overdose deaths

The coroner's office ruled 43 deaths as overdoses this year by the end of July, as compared with 56 in 2016 and 43 in 2015.
Not only are coroners across the state seeing more of their population succumbing to overdoses, the drugs themselves have become more complex. The suppliers who make these substances often are mixing them with other chemicals, creating a lethal cocktail, unbeknownst to their customers.
"What the drug dealers will do is they'll start with fentanyl, and then they'll chemically alter the structure of fentanyl, and that's how they get fentanyl analogs," Majewski said. "At that point, the lab has to determine a new test to analyze that structure."
Once a minor player in the drug crisis, fentanyl – about 50 times stronger than heroin – and synthetic versions of the drug, called fentanyl analogs, are directly linked to more and more overdose deaths each year.
The coroner's office ruled 43 deaths as overdoses this year by the end of July, as compared with 56 in 2016 and 43 in 2015. Not only are coroners across the state seeing more of their population succumbing to overdoses, the drugs themselves have become more complex. The suppliers who make these substances often are mixing them with other chemicals, creating a lethal cocktail, unbeknownst to their customers. "What the drug dealers will do is they'll start with fentanyl, and then they'll chemically alter the structure of fentanyl, and that's how they get fentanyl analogs," Majewski said. "At that point, the lab has to determine a new test to analyze that structure." Once a minor player in the drug crisis, fentanyl – about 50 times stronger than heroin – and synthetic versions of the drug, called fentanyl analogs, are directly linked to more and more overdose deaths each year.

WOODSTOCK – The overdose caseload is climbing in McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski's office these days.

The costs to run her office are rising as well.

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