According to the latest data from the Chief Medical Examiner in New Hampshire, there was almost no change in the number of drug overdose deaths from 2016 to 2017.
There were 485 overdose deaths in 2016, and 483 in 2017. There are six additional deaths from 2017 that still have pending lab results.
Fentanyl is deadliest opioid
The vast majority of overdose deaths in 2016 and 2017 involved fentanyl.
If New Hampshire can decrease the abuse of fentayl, there could be a turnaround in overdose deaths this year. The number of overdose deaths from heroin and other opiates decreased significantly over the past few years. In fact, there was only one overdose death from heroin alone in 2017.
Is more law enforcement the answer?
New Hampshire increased the penalties for abusing fentanyl in 2016, and increased law enforcement funding for drug enforcement in both 2016 and 2017.
Opponents of that funding argue much of the money was spent to arrest marijuana users and other less serious offenders.
Or more addiction treatment funding?
The state has also increased funding for addiction treatment programs, and last year the Legislature passed a bill to allow needle exchange programs.
However, many advocates argue that the state has an obligation to send more liquor sale profits to addiction treatment.
Meanwhile a few prominent addiction treatment nonprofits in New Hampshire have faced accusations of financial mismanagement.
Do you have an opinion on how New Hampshire is addressing opiate addiction in New Hampshire? Share your opinion in the comments below.