Lake County Coroner Merrilee D. Frey, R.N., B.S.N., M.S., F.N.E. visited each of the eight Lake County Hospital Emergency Departments recently to thank the staff in their efforts to save lives with the epidemic battle of drug overdoes in Lake County. Coroner Frey presented Emergency Room physicians and nurses with a lapel silver ribbon for them to wear and raise awareness during International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31, 2016. Coroner Frey states; “There is an epidemic in drug overdose cases especially with heroin related deaths in Lake County. In 2015, alone, Lake County investigated 80 drug overdose deaths; of those 42 were related to heroin.” Sadly, Coroner Frey estimates 120 overdose deaths for Lake County in 2016.
International Overdose Awareness Day is committed to acknowledging the grief felt by families and friends who have lost a loved one to overdose and raise awareness that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.
Coroner Frey is working closely with Sheriff John Buncich, Prosecutor Bernard Carter and the DEA to reduce the drug overdose deaths in Lake County. Coroner Frey and Sheriff Buncich recently completed a documentary funded by HIDTA, concerning heroin related deaths and the heroin epidemic in Lake County. Coroner Frey will present this documentary when speaking at local schools and community groups. Worldwide it is estimated that in 2014 there were 207,400 drug related deaths with overdose; accounting for up to half of all deaths and with opioids involved in most cases. In 2014 alone, 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States.