Drugs in Las Vegas, road deaths soar in 2021


The youngest person to die in 2021 in Clark County was just a few hours old.

Michael Jordan-Pinson was found in desert terrain on June 17, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office. The baby died from the toxic effects of methamphetamine, the coroner’s office said.

His death was one of 2,886 cases the coroner’s office investigated last year, including at least 800 people who died of drug overdoses, a 42% increase from the previous year.

Nevada was placed on “red alert” by the National Drug Helpline in December 2020 due to an increased risk of drug overdoses, according to a statement from the state Department of Health and Human Services. Authorities cited reduced access to treatment programs, overburdened hospitals and increased social and economic stress amid a pandemic as reasons for the alert.

Just over a year later, UNLV psychology expert Shane Kraus said in a January interview that pandemic-induced despair had contributed to a rise in substance abuse. Some users who need treatment have lost their health insurance along with their jobs, and disadvantaged therapy patients have had their sessions moved remotely, with many unable to afford the technology.

“It’s really a very tragic and difficult thing right now that we’re going through across the country,” Kraus said. “I see so many changes, and I’ve also seen heartaches.”

At least 218 people died from fentanyl overdoses in 2021, according to coroner’s data. The synthetic opioid is believed to be several times stronger than morphine and is often mixed with street drugs and consumed by unsuspecting victims. It claimed the lives of six Clark County teenagers last year.

The youngest was Daniella Young, a 13-year-old student at Rogich Middle School who died in October. An online obituary for the Summerlin teenager was filled with dozens of posts sharing memories and blurry photos of her short life. The girls remembered swapping clothes, teaching dance moves, and sharing pizza. His grandmother remarked that their celebration of Jewish holidays would be bad without the child.

“There will never be a vacation without thinking of you, sweet Dani,” the woman wrote. “From Rosh Hashanah to Passover to Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, we will remember your voice praying and singing with us. We miss you so much.

Toxicology reports for people suspected of dying from drug overdoses take about eight weeks to come back, so it wasn’t immediately clear whether the fentanyl death toll in 2021 would be higher. Coroner’s data showed fentanyl was the cause of death for at least 181 people in 2020, up from 64 people in 2019.

Last year, the coroner’s office examined the bodies of 85 children, 13 of whom died from unsafe sleeping conditions.

The only 9-year-old child who died last year was pronounced dead on July 27 at Spring Valley Hospital of asphyxiation due to helium inhalation.

Dr. Todd Zimmerman, emergency room medical director at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, said death from helium inhalation is very possible, especially in young children who play with balloons and helium tanks. With each breath, less oxygen goes to the brain.

“Have I heard that this type of injury can exist? Yes, I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never seen a patient like that,” he said. “It’s extremely rare.”

Peak of deaths on the roads

About 8% of all cases reviewed by the coroner’s office last year were fatal accidents. Clark County reported 235 traffic deaths, contributing heavily to Nevada’s deadliest statistics in 14 years.

Among the victims was Tina Tintor, a 23-year-old Las Vegas woman who was killed Nov. 2 alongside her golden retriever, Max, in a fire accident blamed on ex-Raiders star Henry Ruggs.

Tintor aspired to be a computer programmer, his friends said in November. She worked for Target for about two years before taking a job with an insurance company. Many remembered Tintor coaching them when they started at Target. She helped them revise their résumés when they were ready to find new jobs.

“Every time I think back I see her smiling,” Ryder Hankins said in tears at a vigil the week Tintor died.

Andrew Bennett, director of the Nevada Bureau of Highway Safety, said he mostly starts reading death reports from the day before. He called them each a punch.

“In road safety, we talk about when a teenager dies or when a young child dies, how the system has let them down,” Bennett said in a January interview. “You never know what this child could have accomplished in his life.”

Other figures

Ashley Green started a job as a truck driver with FedEx in the fall of 2021. The 26-year-old Las Vegas woman was preparing to take her 11-year-old daughter and 5-month-old son and leave the home of his mother. apartment, according to his mother, Lisa Green.

On October 30, Ashley Green was driving with a man near her apartment when two men came up behind them and started shooting. The passenger, who police said was the intended target, survived.

Green died that day of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the coroner’s office.

Lisa Green remembered her daughter as a reader, a writer and a young woman who loved to dance. The Clark High School graduate took her kids to water parks, and Ashley Green’s daughter, Danyelle, said her mom always made sure she was on time for school.

“When she was in the hospital, I gave her a hug and told her I loved her, ‘Your mom will always love you,'” Lisa Green recalled months later. “She was stronger than me”

Green’s death was one of 225 cases the coroner ruled homicides. The data differs from county data, which recorded 20 more homicides. Police departments sometimes consider accidental shootings, drug overdoses, and vehicular manslaughters to be homicides, while the coroner does not.

Among the 151 tourist deaths last year were a 60-year-old man from Caldwell, Indiana, who died May 15 at the Virgin River Casino of fentanyl toxicity and a woman of the same age who died of head trauma. blunt on February 23 in a Draining Storm. The Farmington, New Mexico woman’s death has been ruled a homicide.

The oldest to die in the county were a 98-year-old man and woman. The woman, a resident of Henderson, died September 17 in a living room from blunt head injuries and heart disease. The man was pronounced dead in a kitchen on June 20 from heat stress and heart disease. Both were deemed accidental.

The coroner has ruled one person died of a bee sting in 2021: a 92-year-old man who died in a backyard swimming pool on September 11. Between 2000 and 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 62 people died annually from hornet, wasp and bee stings. But she was the first person to die in the county from a bee sting in at least five years, according to data from the coroner’s office.

The coroner generally only investigates deaths if people died outside of a doctor’s care or if the cause of death was not immediately clear, Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said. in the Review Journal.

The coroner’s office has investigated 68 deaths from COVID-19.

The Southern Nevada Health District declined to provide preliminary data on the total number of people who died in the county last year, or the number of people who died of COVID in 2021. The preliminary data published on the website of the health district showed that at least 4,048 people have died from COVID. -19 in 2021.

Among the latest deaths the coroner investigated last year was a Hawaiian grandmother, Clarice Yamaguchi, 66. Yamaguchi was shot dead during an attempted robbery in the parking lot of the Fashion Show mall on New Year’s Eve. A family friend called her a nice woman who devoted her weekends to the many activities of her three little ones. -children.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at [email protected] or 702-383-0278. To follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter. Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.


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