KENT COUNTY, Mich. — The Kent County Medical Examiner’s Office released their annual report this week. It states that they accepted and looked into 1,386 cases in 2020, which is up from the 1,226 cases they reviewed in 2019.
Of the 1,386 cases, 58 percent of the deaths stemmed from natural diseases, including alcohol, cancer, cardiovascular, CNS and respiratory. The report also stated that it was the leading cause of death ahead of falls among the elderly at 12.9 percent, drug overdoses at 8.9 percent, vehicles at 6.1 percent and gun violence at 5 percent.
Moreover, of the total drug deaths, 71 percent came from narcotic analgesic and opioids. That percentage is up from 59 percent in 2019 and 42 percent in 2016.
Rachel Jantz with the Kent County Health Department said that number doesn’t shock her. Over 93,000 people died from opioids in 2020 in the country, the largest number ever.
“We’ve seen the trend over time in the number of overdoses; of those overdoses, the majority of them now include fentanyl,” Jantz said. “So, that’s something that with an unregulated supply in the United States, it just becomes really difficult for individuals who use substances to keep themselves safe.”
The reports also revealed that suicides were down. In 2020, they looked into 63 cases as opposed to 87 in 2019.