Macomb County had the highest rate of drug related deaths in 2014 coming in at 30.9 per 100,000 people, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Wayne County’s overall rate was 27.4 per 100,000 people. If one looks at Wayne County, excluding the City of Detroit, then out-Wayne had the highest rate of drug related deaths in Southeastern Michigan at 31.3. Detroit’s rate was 21, about equal with Oakland County at 20.8. Regionally, Washtenaw County had the lowest rate of drug deaths in 2014 at 18.5 per 100,000 people.
Livingston County experienced the highest percent change in drug related deaths at 253 percent. In 2005 Livingston County’s rate was 7.8 and by 2014 that number increased to 27.5. Although Washtenaw County had the lowest rate of drug related deaths in 2014, like the other counties in the region, it experienced an increase in drug deaths since 2005. The increase in drug related deaths, regionally and across the state, is partially because of the increased use in opioids and heroin. Just this month the Detroit Free Press reported 19 people in Wayne County died from an elephant tranquillizer-carfentanil-that was mixed with the heroin or other street drugs.
While drug related deaths for the counties increased regionally, the City of Detroit experienced a 19 percent decrease. In 2014 the City’s drug related death per 100,000 people rate was 21, which was higher than both Oakland and Macomb counties. In 2005 the rate for the City was 26.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services the increase in drug poisoning deaths began in 2012. For heroin alone, the rate of related deaths increased from 2.3 per 100,000 people in 2012 to 4.5 in 2014. Statewide, it was individuals between the ages of 25-34 who had the highest death rate involving heroin. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human services in 2014 11.4 per 100,000 individuals died from a drug poisoning involving heroin and 12 per 100,000 individuals in the 35-44 age bracket died from a drug poisoning involving opioids-which include heroin and pain killers.