December 6, 2018Policy Report

Case Study: Cook County

Local/ Local Government Fellows/ 2018/

Cook County, Illinois Publicly Releases Opioid and Gun Homicide Data to Help Combat Growing Epidemics  

Download the Case Study

Between 2015 and 2016, Cook County, Illinois experienced a 70% increase in opioid-related deaths, up from 647 deaths to 1,081 deaths.1 The County also experienced a growing number of gun homiciderelated deaths during that same period, up from 525 deaths in 2015 to 805 deaths in 2016, a 50% increase.2 Law enforcement agencies and public health advocates had been requesting data more frequently from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office (MEO) to analyze cause of death trends and understand the scope of these crises. Although not often considered a traditional partner in public health prevention, the MEO recognized they had an important role to play in informing and curtailing the growing opioid and gun homicide-related deaths occurring in Cook County and across the country by providing real-time access to quality data on cause of death.