Chesterton Tribune



Coroner releases 2Q report; heroin related deaths on the rise

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Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris has released his report for the second quarter of 2017.

The Porter County Health Department-Vital Records Division recorded 813 deaths in the county through the second quarter of 2017, ending on June 30 (434 deaths in the first quarter).

Of those deaths, the Porter County Coroner’s Office investigated 222 (117 in the first quarter). Of those 222, 156 were natural deaths (83), two were homicides (zero), 15 were suicides (10), and 46 were accidental (23). Two deaths are pending and one is undetermined.

Of the 46 accidental deaths, 29 were drug related (16 in the first quarter), 25 of them involving opiates (14) and 17 of them involving heroin (nine). Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, was detected in five of the cases (four).

“Even though the drug trend was anticipated to increase, the rate of heroin deaths is still surprising,” Harris noted in his report. “In 2016 there were 20 heroin deaths. In the first six months of 2017 we have nearly matched that number, resulting in another record-breaking year for heroin-related deaths. Porter County has also already surpassed last year’s number of fentanyl deaths, which has also become a major trend in the nation.”

“The Porter County Coroner’s Office has been proactive in reaching out to schools, community organizations, and inmates, to educate them on the dangers of our current drug culture in Porter County,” Harris added. “Our ultimate goal in this endeavor is to reverse the current drug trends Porter County is experiencing. However, this will certainly fail unless everyone in the community pitches in to fight this battle. The problem is too large at this point to arrest our way out of it, and will certainly take a community effort to make a difference.”

“The Porter County Coroner’s Office recognizes that each case within this report represents the death of a person whose absence is grieved by beloved family, friends, and our community,” Harris said. “To those individuals, their loved ones, and to all the citizens of Porter County who share the loss, this report is dedicated.”


Posted 8/31/2017





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