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Drugs And Death

March 16, 1989|Clipboard researched by Dallas Jamison and Rick VanderKnyff / Los Angeles Times. Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

The county coroner investigates all violent, sudden, unexpected or unexplained deaths in the county. The chart below shows the frequency of various chemical substances detected during toxicological tests performed during these investigations. The substances listed here were present in the bodies of the decedents, but not necessarily the cause of death. The chart is divided by category; totals for selected substances are listed after category totals.

Category 1984 1985 1986 *1987 Cases examined and completed 1,155 1,288 1,290 1,291 Number of tests performed 22,219 21,517 31,139 30,196 ALCOHOL 387 401 409 372 ANALGESICS 258 277 354 304 Acetaminophen 15 7 14 25 Codeine 94 98 131 100 Meperidine 5 4 7 6 Methadone 0 0 1 1 Morphine 113 139 167 143 Propoxyphene 6 10 10 17 Salicylate 23 16 23 8 ANESTHETICS 181 209 280 273 Cocaine 65 76 98 110 Benzoylecgonine 100 110 143 134 Lidocaine 4 12 22 20 Phencyclidine 12 10 17 8 ANOREXICS 0 1 13 16 Amphetamine 0 0 4 6 Methamphetamine 0 1 7 7 ANTI-ARRHYTMIC AGENTS 6 3 10 3 Quinidine 5 2 6 1 ANTIBIOTICS (Trimetoprim) 0 0 1 2 ANTI-CONVULSANTS 35 48 37 34 Carbamazepine 9 9 11 8 Phenytoin 26 39 26 26 ANTI-DEPRESSANTS 42 43 28 53 Amitriptyline 11 7 7 8 Desipramine 5 12 5 11 Doxepin 3 3 2 6 Imipramine 3 8 2 9 Lithium 3 3 1 5 Nortriptyline 11 4 10 9 Trazodone 3 1 1 4 ANTIHISTAMINES 11 18 5 19 Chlorpheniramine 3 7 3 7 Diphrenhydramine 6 6 2 6 CARDIAC GLYCOSIDES (Digoxin) 15 10 19 16 CARDIAC VASODILATORS 3 5 6 13 Theophylline 3 4 6 13 GASES (Carbon monoxide) 23 32 30 35 HYPNOTICS AND SEDATIVES 120 128 207 161 Barbituates 57 79 136 58 Diazepam 17 23 27 28 Flurazepam 8 1 3 1 Glutethimide 4 4 4 5 Hydroxyzine 4 1 2 10 Meprobamate 5 2 3 10 Nordiazepam 18 19 21 37 Temazepam 2 2 6 2 MUSCLE RELAXANTS 3 4 3 6 Carisoprodol 2 1 2 5 PHENOTHIAZINE DERIVATIVES 7 6 4 8 Chlorpromazine 2 2 1 4 Thioridazine 4 1 2 1 OTHER ** 21 26 25 47 Acetone 10 8 8 5 Caffeine 7 3 0 0 Haloperidol 4 1 4 2 Theophylline 0 0 6 13

Note: Individual totals given for only selected substances.

* Most recent data available

** In addition to substances listed, "Other" category includes Alprazolam, Benztropine, Bisacodyl, Dextromorphan, Cyanide, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Diltiazem, Diquat, Ephedrine, Ethylene Glycol, Guifenesin, Insulin, Malathion, Meclizine, Metoclopramide, Orpehandrine, Probenecid, Propranolol, Pseudophedrine, Naproxen, Quinine, Sulindac and Trimethoprim.

Source: Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department

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