Overdose deaths hit new high: About this project

News-DemocratSeptember 18, 2011 

Reporters Kevin Bersett and Jacqueline Lee in January started to investigate a large number of overdose deaths in the metro-east. They compiled the statistics in this series based on a public records review of the 357 confirmed overdose deaths between 2006 and 2010 in St. Clair and Madison counties.

The 357 victims included any in which: the lethal toxicity of a drug, or a combination of drugs, were listed in the cause of death; the manner of death was an accident, suicide, homicide, natural or undetermined; a medical condition was listed along with drugs that caused the death; "polypharmacy overdose," or a mix of alcohol, prescription or street drugs, was listed as the cause of death.

Additionally, toxicology tests were reviewed to determine when a specific drug was involved in a death. Coroners' reports frequently listed "polypharmacy overdose" as the cause of death without elaboration as to which drugs were involved.

Contact reporter Kevin Bersett at kbersett@bnd.com, or 239-2535, and reporter Jacqueline Lee at jlee@bnd.com, or 239-2655.

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service