Mar 29, 2017, 8:00 AM, Posted by Tim Soucy
Drug overdose deaths are fueling a dramatic increase in premature deaths nationally. This community is taking action—here’s how.
I’ve lived in Manchester, New Hampshire, my entire life and led the health department here for more than a decade. So for me, the opioid crisis that has hit the city and surrounding region hard feels like a very personal kick to the gut. Between 2003 and 2015, overdose deaths in Manchester increased 12-fold, and until recently, our emergency responders were seeing 60 to 70 suspected overdoses each month in this city of 110,000 people.
We’ve seen more and more in the news that the drug overdose epidemic has become a national crisis, and the 2017 County Health Rankings released today reveal the extent of its terrible impact. Drug overdose deaths are now the leading cause of death in the United States among 25- to 44-year-olds, cutting short the lives of too many people and underlying a national rise in premature death rates.
Fueled largely by overdose deaths from opioid prescription drugs, heroin, and illegally manufactured fentanyl, the epidemic killed more than half a million people from 2000 to 2015.