N.H. drug overdose deaths – mostly from fentanyl – continue at a high rate

Monitor staff
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The deadly toll that drugs, particularly opioids, are taking in New Hampshire does not appear to be declining, according to the latest data from the state’s medical examiner.

Through Aug. 15, the office of the medical examiner has confirmed 187 deaths from drug overdoses, all but 26 of them due to opioids, mostly fentanyl. Because it can take two to three months to confirm toxicology reports for the cause of death, another 109 apparent overdose deaths are still awaiting toxicology reports.

The office estimated that if the trends hold true, New Hampshire will see 466 drug-related deaths this year, which is similar to the figures of the past two years: There were 486 deaths in 2016 and 439 in 2015.

Prior to 2014, New Hampshire had seldom seen even 200 deaths in a year from drug overdoses.

The tally so far in 2017 shows the havoc wreaked by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. Of the 187 overdose deaths with confirmed causes, about one-third, or 68, were from fentanyl alone, and another third, or 64, were from fentanyl combined with another drug. Only 55 of the deaths were caused by a drug or multiple drugs without fentanyl involved.