Proactive measures by community health organizations helped make a dent in Peoria County’s overdose death numbers last year.
That’s according to Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson.
The 2018 Mortality Report shows that Peoria County saw a 22 percent drop in overdose deaths from 2017. Hendrickson says there are a few factors at work.
“One is that the awareness campaign is improving, and people are understanding the threats that are out there. Secondly, that the stigma is also being taken away, so people are seeking out help, and then thirdly, all those efforts to understand how we can really use data and place interventions effectively has been working," she said.
The Partners for a Healthy Community have rolled out new programs such as Narcan distribution to reverse overdoses and fentanyl testing strips. The group includes OSF HealthCare, UnityPoint, and all three health departments in the Tri-County area.
Overdoses remain the leading cause of death in Peoria County for people ages 25 to 44. More than three quarters of the county's 46 overdose deaths were opioid-related, and 14 were linked to fentanyl. White men were most heavily affected, although black men saw higher crude death rates.