KANKAKEE — The Kankakee Police Department and the Kankakee County Coroner’s Office are working jointly on seven fentanyl overdose cases in a period of 24 hours late this week.

Two of the seven overdose victims — a 20-year-old female and a 37-year-old male, both of Kankakee — died, Coroner Bob Gessner said Friday.

The condition of the other five victims was not known by officials.

“This is the first time we’ve had several cases in a short period of time,” Gessner said. “I have been concerned about this happening here for a long time.

“People don’t know what is in the cocaine or heroin. They should be aware this has happened.”

All seven overdose victims had fentanyl in their systems, officials said.

The Kankakee County Health Department issued a release that the local hospitals were reporting a sharp increase in the number of opioid related overdoses.

“Local hospitals are observing extreme levels of fentanyl in recent overdose cases,” the release said.

Gessner said Narcan — a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses — is carried by all EMS, police and fire units.

According to Kankakee police, the last seven overdose victims are believed to have been together in the 600 block of West Station Street prior to overdosing.

According to police, the first call for an overdose came at approximately 6:20 p.m. Thursday. Kankakee police and Kankakee fire department responded to an address on West Court Street for a male subject who had overdosed. The subject was revived and transported to the hospital.

At 1:58 a.m. Friday, police and fire personnel responded to an address in the 600 block of West Station Street in response to three subjects who had overdosed. Two victims, both female, were transported to area hospitals. Paramedics were unable to revive a 37-year-old male who died at the scene of a suspected drug overdose.

At 3:30 a.m. Friday, police and fire responded to the 600 block of North Hammes Avenue for two people, one male and one female, who had overdosed while sitting in a vehicle. Both of these subjects were revived at the scene by KFD paramedics and were transported to area hospitals.

At 9:58 a.m. Friday, police and fire responded to the 1700 block of Cedar Street in response to a 20-year-old female who was not breathing. Paramedics were unable to revive the female and she was pronounced dead at the scene. At this time she is suspected of dying from a drug overdose.

Anyone with information about these recent incidents can call the Kankakee Police Detective Bureau at 815-933-0426.


Since the beginning of 2022, Gessner said there have been six overdose deaths in Kankakee County.

In the 2021 fiscal year — the time frame used by the Kankakee County Coroner’s Office when collecting data so that it coincides with the county’s budget — there were 43 confirmed overdose deaths.

For the 2020 fiscal year, which runs from Dec. 1 to Nov. 30, there were 50 confirmed OD deaths.

Jeff Bonty is a reporter for The Daily Journal. He can be reached at jbonty@daily-journal.com and 815-937-3366.


Jeff Bonty has worked for The Daily Journal since September 1986, starting in the sports department before moving to news reporting in 2002. He's a native of Indiana and graduate of Purdue University. His email is jbonty@daily-journal.com.