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Rapid Surveillance Reporting


To more rapidly detect overdose outbreaks or sharp increases in overdose deaths, IDOH will be partnering with coroners to collect preliminary data on suspected overdose deaths (i.e., deaths suspected to involve substances before receipt of forensic toxicology data). Awarded coroners have been asked to provide information on the decedent within a month of the date of death. The data requested includes background on the drug overdose scene and minimal identifiable information on the decedent. IDOH will collect this information using the Coroner Case Management System (CCMS), a repository in which coroners can manage their cases. 

Suspected Drug Overdose Case Definition

A fatal drug overdose is confirmed by positive toxicology results and is certified by a coroner/medical examiner as such. In order to quickly identify possible overdoses before confirmed toxicology results, we ask that coroners report cases if they meet the following case definition:

  • Drug paraphernalia suggestive of use was found at/around the scene OR
  • Clinical evidence suggestive of an opioid overdose including pulmonary/cerebral edema, bladder distension, pinpoint pupils, injections sites, foam cone, etc. OR
  • Unexpected death with a diagnosis of substance use disorder OR
  • Evidence of stimulant overdose including seizures and multiple organ failures resulting from heatstroke OR
  • Any other evidence indicative of a drug overdose/prior overdose.

Within CCMS, IDOH will be using the following variables to track suspected overdose deaths: 

  • Case Criteria Additional Information: Potential Drug Overdose or “PDO”
  • Injury Date
  • Decedent First Name
  • Decedent Last Name
  • Gender
  • Race
  • DOB
  • Decent Zip Code/Postal Code
  • Death Date
  • Place of Death
  • Scene Description
  • Injury Place
  • Describe How Injury Occurred/Injury Occurred Description

Coroners must complete these fields in CCMS when filling out cases for each decedent. Instructions on completing this can be found HERE.

Death Investigation Guide

Click here for additional guidance on detecting a drug overdose on scene.

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Page last updated 2/14/2022.