SAGINAW, MI — The December death of a Bay City man inside the Saginaw County Jail was ruled an overdose.

Joshua A. Aldrich, 26, was found unconscious in his cell around 1 a.m. on December 15. Despite rescue efforts by prison officers, firefighters and paramedics, Aldrich did not regain consciousness and was pronounced dead at the jail at 1:45 a.m.

Following an autopsy and toxicology analysis, investigators determined Aldrich died of an acute drug overdose, Saginaw County Sheriff‘s Sgt. Aaron Simons. The sergeant declined to specify the type of drug Aldrich overdosed on.

Aldrich had been incarcerated in the prison for violation of probation at 7:55 p.m. on December 14, according to prison records. H

Sheriff William L. Federspiel said he believed Aldrich swallowed an object containing drugs before he was incarcerated. While in his cell, he passed the object, opened it and ingested the drugs, he said.

“It’s a desire to satisfy your addiction,” Federspiel said.

Aldrich is survived by his mother, three sisters, two brothers, a grandmother, and several nieces and nephews.

“Josh was a very family-oriented man,” says his obituary. “He loved spending his free time with his family and making memories with his nieces and nephews. Josh enjoyed working as a landscaper in Bay and Saginaw counties. Josh was much loved and will be dearly missed by all of his family and friends.

Aldrich in March 2021 was charged with a lifetime offense of armed robbery after he allegedly pulled a knife on a loss prevention officer at Menards, 5806 State St., Saginaw Township. Aldrich fled the store on foot with stolen goods and was pursued by civilians.

Police found Aldrich near the old Brockway skating rink at 5550 Brockway Road. Officers recovered a knife and gas gauge stolen from Menards on Aldrich.

Aldrich in September pleaded no contest to felony assault – a four-year felony – and third-degree retail fraud in exchange for the dismissal of the armed robbery count. He was free on a bond of $7,500 or 10% at the time.

On October 27, a judge issued an arrest warrant for Aldrich for violating probation. Aldrich was due to be sentenced for his last convictions on December 16, the day after his death.

Accidental drug overdose is considered the leading cause of death among people under 50 in the United States, according to drugpolicy.org. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says opioids were implicated in 49,680 overdose deaths in 2019, representing 70.6% of all fatal overdoses.

In a 12-month period ending April 2021, the number of opioid-related overdose deaths rose to 75,673 from 50,064 the previous year, CDC reports.

Michigan experienced a 19.6% increase in fatal opiate overdoses from 2015 to 2016, a 13.9% increase from 2016 to 2017, a 4.32% decrease from 2017 to 2018, and an 8 .3% from 2018 to 2019, CDC reports.

However, the The CDC also reports Michigan overdose deaths increased 7% from September 2020 to September 2021, from 2,741 to 2,933.

“Since 2000, opioid overdose deaths have increased tenfold in Michigan,” says the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “This outbreak is affecting thousands of Michiganders and their families, friends and communities. This is one of the biggest public health crises of our lifetime, and we need to respond to it urgently. »

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