Coroner’s report reveals more suicides, fentanyl related deaths in 2019

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COLORADO SPRINGS– Dr. Leon Kelly, El Paso County Coroner, presented the Coroner’s Office 2019 Annual Report to the El Paso County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

Top themes from the 2019 report include:

  • Fentanyl continues to be a top issue.
    • The total number of drug-related deaths remained relatively steady from 2018 (133) due to decreases in heroin deaths (47 in 2018) being offset by an increase in fentanyl-related deaths (9 in 2018).
  • There was in increase in suicides predominately in our adult population (180 in 2019) compared to 152 in 2018.
    • These suicides were largely completed through firearms.
  • There was a sharp decrease in homicides in 2019 (35 total), compared to 56 in 2018.
    • Of note, there were six officer-involved shootings (though the term “homicide” does not have legal implications in this instance).
  • In 2019, 56 total individuals died unexpectedly while struggling with homelessness. That number is down from 61 such deaths in 2018.
  • The number of teen suicides stayed relatively stable, with 9 suicides completed in 2019, compared to 7 suicides in 2018.

Deaths due to homicides:

2019 marked a sharp decrease in homicides (56 in 2018) of nearly all types.

83% of homicide victims were intoxicated with drugs (49% of victims), alcohol (40% of victims), THC (49% of victims) or some combination at death. Dr. Kelly said that information is not meant to assign blame, but rather to make the connection between substance abuse and violence.

Deaths due to suicide:

2019 saw an increase in suicides (152 in 2018) among the adult population. Of those, 79% of completed suicides were male.

Most common risk factors: recently ended relationship, personal health crisis, financial struggles, legal issues, and grief over the death of a loved one.

Drug related accidental deaths:

Fentanyl related deaths:

  • 2017: 5
  • 2018: 9
  • 2019: 21
  • 2020: 17 (as of mid June) *Dr. Leon Kelly says we will most likely pass last year’s total this month.

>>Click here for an in-depth look at the fentanyl crisis from FOX21 Digital NOW.

Death due to motor vehicle accidents:

Child fatalities: 36 total

Homeless deaths in El Paso County:

Total deaths investigated:

For the official Coroner’s report from 2017-2019 see below:

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