The opioid epidemic

There have been at least 161 fatal overdoses in New Hampshire this year, according to data released Monday by the chief medical examiner’s office.

The numbers are current through July 17 and do not include 73 deaths with causes awaiting determination through toxicology testing.

Similar to in previous years, fentanyl has been involved in a majority of the confirmed drug deaths. The synthetic opioid was used alone in 55 of them, and an additional 66 involved fentanyl and at least one other drug. Three of those deaths involved the combination of heroin and fentanyl.

No deaths have been attributed to heroin alone or with drugs other than fentanyl.

Seventeen confirmed deaths involved opioids other than fentanyl and heroin, and another 23 involved unspecified drugs.

New Hampshire’s number of fatal overdoses skyrocketed starting in 2013 and 2014 as part of a nationwide epidemic and peaked in 2017 with a confirmed total of 490. Last year — with 415 reported by the state — marked the second year in a row that drug death numbers had dropped.

The Doorway at Cheshire Medical Center — a referral hub for people to get help with substance use disorders — is at 24 Railroad St. in Keene and is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Support through the state’s 24/7 hotline is available at 211.

Olivia Belanger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or obelanger@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @OBelangerKS.