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Two steps back: Losing ground to opioids

March 11. 2018 8:50PM

It is beyond frustrating. After years of dealing with a deadly opioid crisis, thousands of lives lost, and billions spent nationwide, people continue to inject themselves with poison.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that emergency room visits for drug overdoses have increased 30 percent over the previous 15 months.

Nearly 10,000 people a month are being taken to the ER nationwide. In New Hampshire, the rate of ER visits dropped early last year, but spiked in the fall, and remains high.

We had hoped this deadly wave had crested. The number of people who died from opioid overdoses leveled off in 2017. But perhaps we are just getting better at saving people.

That’s good. Availability of Narcan and the sheer volume of experience has enabled first responders to bring overdose victims back from the brink.

Yet it seems the combination of drug enforcement, prevention, and treatment is doing little to lower the number of people seeking a heroin high, often mixed with an unknown dose of fentanyl.

Last week, the Executive Council approved contracts to keep several recovery centers open. That will help many people struggling with addiction.

We need to find a better way to keep people from getting hooked.

Health Public Safety State Government Heroin Editorial

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