Cook County

Cook County Registers Record Number of Opioid Deaths in 2020

Cook County reported more gun and opioid deaths in 2020 than any other year on record, officials said Friday.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office announced it handled a total of 970 homicides, 1,599 opioid deaths and 8,192 COVID-19 related deaths in 2020.

Guns were involved in 875 of the homicides, breaking the previous record of 838 set in 1994, the medical examiner’s office said.

Overall, the medical examiner’s office handled 16,049 deaths this year, exceeding its previous record of 10,654 set in 1977, officials said. COVID-19 infection deaths accounted for more than half of the 2020 caseload. On average, the office usually handles 6,200 deaths a year.

The medical examiner’s office said final opioid-related death count could actually end up topping 2,000 once pending toxicology reports on additional cases are finalized. Overdoses have been steadily increasing, up by nearly 1,000 compared to 2015 when only 647 opioid deaths were reported.

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