JOLIET, Ill. - Will County in northern Illinois has seen

the highest number of fatal opioid overdoses in its history.


The county coroner's office reports 85 people died from heroin or fentanyl overdoses in 2017. That’s 7 more people than died from opioid in 2016 and 32 more deaths than in 2015.


Investigators say a 14-year-old boy found dead last year in his suburban Chicago home died from an overdose of the powerful painkiller fentanyl.

The Chicago Police Department is planning to expand a pilot program that gives detainees arrested for drugs the option of treatment or jail time.

Peoria Police Department

The Peoria Police Department is issuing a ‘buyer beware notice’ to crack cocaine users. A new form of fentanyl laced in rocks of crack is responsible for the deaths of two people Tuesday, contributed to the death for a third, and has one man in critical condition.

Wikimedia Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Bruce Rauner says improved detection and better scrutiny of packages in the mail will reduce the spread of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. 

Two medical universities are teaming up to study how the opioid epidemic is affecting southern Illinois.

Heroin Deaths on the Rise in Northern Illinois

Jan 2, 2017
Carl-Johan Sveningsson / Flickr

The coroner in Will County in northern Illinois says heroin overdose deaths in his jurisdiction were up more than 40 percent in 2016 over 2015. Coroner Patrick O'Neil tells The Naperville Sun that as of Friday Will County had 75 heroin or fentanyl deaths.

Fentanyl is more lethal heroin substitute. That number is 42 percent higher than the previous record of 53 reported during 2012 and 2015.

Rockford police seized $8.6 million in cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl in a raid last month in southeast Rockford, officials announced Thursday.

Officers found the drugs after raiding 629 16th Avenue on Nov. 22, where they arrested 58-year-old Luis Ruiz, according to the Rockford Register Star. He's been charged with delivery of a controlled substance and three counts of possession with intent to deliver.   


Illinois regulators have yanked a doctor's license for running a cash-only pill mill and prescribing vast amounts of fentanyl and other addictive painkillers to patients in 11 states.  Disciplinary paperwork notes Dr. Paul C. Madison had patients in California, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The coroner in Will County says he's found evidence of the presence of a toxic substance in fatal heroin overdoses that's more potent than fentanyl.  Will County Coroner Patrick K. O'Neil says he found traces of W-18 in the system of a 32-year-old Lockport man who died of a heroin overdose in April. 

Chicago police say they have arrested more than two-dozen people in connection with sales of heroin laced with the painkiller fentanyl, which is being blamed for a sharp increase in overdose deaths.  Police say a series of raids took place throughout the day Thursday led to 25 arrests by late that night. 

Insys Therapeutics Inc.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit against a Phoenix-based pharmaceutical company for alleged deceptive marketing of an opioid drug meant for cancer patients.  The lawsuit claims Insys Therapeutics Inc. marketed its sublingual fentanyl spray Subsys to doctors who prescribed large amounts of painkillers instead of to cancer doctors.

emonhalim / Flickr/Creative Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - The U.S. surgeon general is scheduled to appear in Illinois as part of his national tour to fight prescription painkiller addiction.

Dr. Vivek Murthy plans to visit a Chicago treatment facility Wednesday with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. They will tour Haymarket Center, which offers services - including job training and medically assisted treatment - to people recovering from addiction.

Murthy has been calling on doctors to improve their prescribing practices to reduce the supply of misused opioid painkillers, along with training that would allow doctors to better diagnose substance abuse disorders.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) - Authorities in suburban Chicago are concerned an increase in heroin related deaths may involve tainted batches of the drug making their way out of Cook County.

Chicago authorities are investing what's behind a spike in heroin overdoses on the city's West Side. Fire Department Commander Frank Velez said late Thursday that at least 18 people overdosed within twenty hours beginning Wednesday evening. Local hospitals and paramedics noticed the increase. A Chicago Department of Public Health memo says it may have been heroin laced with fentanyl purchased at two locations.