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Overdose deaths in state continue to rise

By Union Leader Staff
September 17. 2017 8:31PM

CONCORD — The number of drug overdose deaths each year in New Hampshire continues to rise, but the rate of increase is slowing, according to statistics released on Friday by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

The analysis of 2016 data, just completed, shows that 485 people died from drug overdoses last year, compared to 439 in 2015.

That’s the smallest rate of increase since the opioid addiction crisis began to accelerate in 2012, when 163 people died.

The biggest increase was between 2013 to 2014, when the number of fatal drug overdoses increased from 192 to 332.

Of the 485 drug-related deaths in 2016, 349 were caused by fentanyl or some combination of fentanyl and other drugs, including heroin. Heroin alone accounted for three deaths.

The report from the medical examiner comes a day after U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price visited New Hampshire to announce $1.7 million in federal grants to 10 health centers in New Hampshire to increase access to substance abuse treatment and mental health services.

Also on Thursday, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan joined 18 other Democrats in expressing concern that the White House’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has missed a self-imposed deadline to outline an effective strategy to combat the opioid epidemic.

Gov. Chris Sununu on Thursday issued a proclamation declaring September as Recovery Month in New Hampshire. “Together we will find long-term solutions to the opioid crisis,” he said.

Public Safety Health Social issues New Hampshire

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