Drug Overdose Deaths Continue To Climb In New England

Jan 4, 2017

The number of deaths from heroin and synthetic opioids continues to rise in New England, according to data just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The data focuses on 28 states in the years 2014 and 2015, states which detail information on death certificates about the specific drugs involved in an overdose.

And New England did not do well.

Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Connecticut -- in that order -- saw the largest percentage increases in all drug overdose deaths, among the 28 states.

When it came to heroin specifically, Connecticut and Massachusetts also saw statistically significant spikes in deaths related to that drug during the same period.

Last fall, Connecticut's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner projected accidental overdose deaths would rise again in 2016, due in part to a surge in heroin and fentanyl misuse.

In an email, Chief Medical Examiner James Gill said his office expects to release updated numbers next month, but "our overall autopsy numbers are not decreasing and we are still investigating a high number of drug intoxication deaths each week," he wrote.

From 1999 through 2014, the CDC reports drug overdose deaths nationwide nearly tripled.

WNPR's Opioid Addiction Crisis Reporting Initiative is supported by Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network's MATCH Program.