Medical Examiner’s Report on Overdoses in the County

1,651 deaths were reported to the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office during calendar year 2019. Jurisdiction was accepted for 826 of these deaths, requiring further investigation and certification.

Postmortem examinations were performed on 585 cases. Of the cases investigated, 149 deaths were due to medications, alcohol and or illicit drugs.

Of the 149 deaths, 128 were accidents, 17 were suicide and four deaths were undetermined. Of the overdose deaths, men accounted for 107 deaths (71.8%) and women accounted for 42 deaths (28.2%).

Multiple drugs or medications may be involved in one case; therefore, one should not add the numbers of individual substances. The same case may be represented multiple times by different drugs or drug categories. Deaths by city are based on the location of death which may not be the same location as where the overdose occurred.

Noteworthy trends:

  • Total overdose deaths between 2018 and 2019 decreased by 21. Compared to the previous year, accidental overdoses for 2019 decreased by 28 while suicidal overdoses increased by
  • Except for overdoses involving ethanol, deaths from all drug types and categories decreased compared to 2018 (opioid, heroin, fentanyl, benzodiazepine, methamphetamine and cocaine).
  • The highest number of overdose deaths in 2019 were between ages 51 to 60 years (45 deaths) and the majority of these deaths involved methamphetamine (25 deaths).


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