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Fentanyl Overdose Deaths in Connecticut Are Surging This Year, State Officials Say

Howard Smith
Creative Commons

New data show a surge in drug overdose deaths in Connecticut during the first three months of this year involving the opioid fentanyl.  The information was released on Friday by the State?'s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. James Gill.
"We?'ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of fentanyl deaths," Gill said. "That?'s illicit fentanyl that'?s being sold on the street? -- projections for the year that would be close to double the number of fentanyl deaths that we saw in 2015." 

Overall projections for fatal drug overdoses are up about 14 percent from last year, but Gill said the year before that was even higher -- at 28 percent.

"So we?'re still seeing an increase this year, but it?'s less of an increase than we saw last year, and so that may be evidence that drug intoxication deaths may be starting to level out," Gill said. 

Gill said hard data from the Medical Examiner?'s office can be used to measure the effectiveness of various interventions and hopefully lower the number of overdose deaths.

Diane Orson is a special correspondent with Connecticut Public. She is a longtime reporter and contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories have been heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now. Diane spent seven years as CT Public Radio's local host for Morning Edition.

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