While the US as a whole is reporting an overall 14 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths, including both opioid pain relievers and heroin, no states saw the increases from 2013 to 2014 like New Hampshire.
According to new data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of drug overdose deaths in the Granite State increased from 203 to 334 cases, an increase of 73.5 percent year to year.
According to the CDC, the most commonly prescribed opioid pain relievers, those classified as natural or semi-synthetic opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, continue to be involved in more overdose deaths than any other opioid type. These deaths increased by 9 percent (813 more deaths in 2014 than 2013).
Increases in prescription opioid pain reliever and heroin deaths are the biggest driver of the drug overdose epidemic. Deaths from heroin increased in 2014, continuing a sharp rise that has seen heroin overdoses triple since 2010. Deaths involving illicitly made fentanyl, a potent opioid often added to or sold as heroin, also are on the upswing.
“The increasing number of deaths from opioid overdose is alarming,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities. To curb these trends and save lives, we must help prevent addiction and provide support and treatment to those who suffer from opioid use disorders. This report also shows how important it is that law enforcement intensify efforts to reduce the availability of heroin, illegal fentanyl, and other illegal opioids.”
In addition to New Hampshire, thirteen other states saw statistically significant increases in drug overdose deaths from 2013 to 2014 to include Maine (27.3 percent), New Mexico (20.8), Alabama (19.7) and Maryland (19.2).
More persons died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2014 than during any previous year on record. From 2000 to 2014 nearly half a million persons in the United States have died from drug overdoses. In 2014, there were approximately one and a half times more drug overdose deaths in the United States than deaths from motor vehicle crashes.