Fatal drug overdoses increasing in NH faster than rest of country

Fatal drug overdoses in New Hampshire are increasing faster than the rest of the country, according to recently released data.The state medical examiner’s office final report for 2022 showed that 486 people died of a drug overdose in the Granite State. That’s the highest number of overdose deaths since 2017.Official numbers for the entire country haven’t been released yet, but preliminary data shows that last year, the United States as a whole experienced a 0.5% increase in overdose deaths. New Hampshire experienced a 14% increase in deaths from 2021 to 2022.A handful of the deaths were suicides, but researchers said most were unintentional. More than 80% of the deaths involved fentanyl, which has hit cities like Manchester and Nashua, hard.”In Nashua, about 25% of opioid overdoses that we encounter resulted in death, which is a really alarming number,” said Chris Stawasz, of American Medical Response.Stawasz said a deadly dose of fentanyl would be small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil.”It’s very inexpensive for the cartels to manufacture,” Stawasz said. “Heroin has to be grown in fields and then processed and moved here. Fentanyl can be made in someone’s basement, if you will, in Mexico, as long as you get the precursor chemicals that are generally coming from China. They put them together, they make it into their mix, and they send it here. Very simple for them to make, highly profitable, and that’s why they’re doing it.”The high number of overdose deaths have motivated Dam Wright to teach as many people how to use Narcan as possible. Narcan is a nasal spray used to help reverse an overdose and is available over the counter. “We need to get a lot more people carrying Narcan, ready to use it,” Wright said. He said he won’t stop because he knows there are lives on the line.”We’re talking about people’s fathers sons, daughters, people’s families, people that are loved,” Wright said. If you or a loved one need help with substance abuse, you can call 211 to be connected with resources.

Fatal drug overdoses in New Hampshire are increasing faster than the rest of the country, according to recently released data.

The state medical examiner’s office final report for 2022 showed that 486 people died of a drug overdose in the Granite State. That’s the highest number of overdose deaths since 2017.

Official numbers for the entire country haven’t been released yet, but preliminary data shows that last year, the United States as a whole experienced a 0.5% increase in overdose deaths. New Hampshire experienced a 14% increase in deaths from 2021 to 2022.

A handful of the deaths were suicides, but researchers said most were unintentional. More than 80% of the deaths involved fentanyl, which has hit cities like Manchester and Nashua, hard.

“In Nashua, about 25% of opioid overdoses that we encounter resulted in death, which is a really alarming number,” said Chris Stawasz, of American Medical Response.

Stawasz said a deadly dose of fentanyl would be small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil.

“It’s very inexpensive for the cartels to manufacture,” Stawasz said. “Heroin has to be grown in fields and then processed and moved here. Fentanyl can be made in someone’s basement, if you will, in Mexico, as long as you get the precursor chemicals that are generally coming from China. They put them together, they make it into their mix, and they send it here. Very simple for them to make, highly profitable, and that’s why they’re doing it.”

The high number of overdose deaths have motivated Dam Wright to teach as many people how to use Narcan as possible. Narcan is a nasal spray used to help reverse an overdose and is available over the counter.

“We need to get a lot more people carrying Narcan, ready to use it,” Wright said.

He said he won’t stop because he knows there are lives on the line.

“We’re talking about people’s fathers sons, daughters, people’s families, people that are loved,” Wright said.

If you or a loved one need help with substance abuse, you can call 211 to be connected with resources.

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