Medical Examiner Annual Data Release


The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s annual report is now complete and attached, it will also be available to view along with previous years’ annual reports on the Medical Examiner web page HERE.

I wanted to highlight a few items from the report that I thought may be of interest to some of you:

Total autopsies for the Spokane County Medical Examiner increased 15% in 2015 and total Spokane County deaths reported to the Spokane County Medical Examiner increased 9 %
Accidental Drug Overdoses in 2015 in Spokane County totaled 82, an increase of 18 over 2014
Ø  The most common opioids listed as causing or contributing to accidental overdose were

§  Morphine (in 14 deaths)

§  Hydrocodone (in 11 deaths)

§  Oxycodone (in 10 deaths)

§  Methadone (in 8 deaths)

§  Codeine (in 8 deaths)

§  Benzodiazapines (in 16 deaths) – though benzodiazepines are not opioids they are included with the opioids as national data which indicates that benzodiazepines are often seen in combination with opioids in prescription medication deaths.

Total Drug Overdose Deaths – in 2015 a total of 104 deaths had prescription/and or illicit drugs listed on the death certificate as causing or contributing to death. Of these 92 deaths had drugs listed as the primary cause of death.
Ø  Drug overdoses causing or contributing to 104 deaths:

19 deaths            suicide

3 deaths              undetermined accident vs. suicide

82 deaths            accidents

Ø  The most common illicit drugs causing or contributing to death were

§  Methamphetamine (in 29 deaths)

§   Heroin (in 22 deaths)

§   Cocaine (in 5 deaths)

Homicides in 2015 in Spokane County totaled 26, and increase of 8 over 2014
Vehicular deaths in Spokane County in 2015 totaled 56 and increase of 20 over 2014
Suicide deaths in Spokane County in 2015 totaled 98 and increase of 7 from 2014
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report a rise in the U.S. suicide rate, key findings are as follows:

•             From 1999 through 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 24%, from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 population, with

               the pace of

               increase greater after 2006.

•             Suicide rates increased from 1999 through 2014 for both males and females and for all ages 10–74.

•             The percent increase in suicide rates for females was greatest for those aged 10–14, and for males, those aged 45–64.

•             The most frequent suicide method in 2014 for males involved the use of firearms (55.4%), while poisoning was the most frequent method

               for females (34.1%).

•             Percentages of suicides attributable to suffocation increased for both sexes between 1999 and 2014.

Here is a link to the original CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) report:

Alana Inks

Office Manager

Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office

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