Opioid deaths increase dramatically in Illinois

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The number of people dying from opioid overdoses is on the rise, with one of the biggest increases being in Illinois.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the opioid-related death rate in Illinois rose 120 percent from 2014 from 2015.

In Cook County, the biggest increase has been in fentanyl related deaths. According to the Cook County Medical Examiner, there were 20 fentanyl related deaths in 2014. In 2016, there have already been 400.

"Our results are about three months behind so we'll see a much higher increase in the number of fentanyl deaths this year," said Dr. Ponni Arunkumar, the Cook County Chief Medical Examiner.

Public health officials and law enforcement need to work together to prevent overdose deaths, the CDC said.