A new report from the New Orleans Coroner reveals that the number of accidental drug-related deaths in 2016 were more than double the number of similar deaths in 2015, with 211 people dying from drug-related causes in 2016 compared with 92 in 2015. Dr. Jeffrey Rouse, the coroner of Orleans Parish, stated that it is likely the first time that deaths caused by drugs have passed the number of homicide-related deaths in New Orleans, underscoring how widespread and dangerous the addiction epidemic has become.
The report contained a number of startling statistics, each of which highlights the dangerous the burgeoning substance abuse epidemic. By taking these variables into account, addiction experts hope to begin to better comprehend addiction, allowing them to overcome the challenges presented by substance abuse.
One of the disturbing revelations contained within the report is the fact that toxicology analysis has revealed that in the majority of cases where drug-related fatalities occur, there are multiple substances present in the deceased person’s system, indicating that the substance abuse issues facing the area are more complicated than only a single source of addiction.
Another disturbing trend illuminated by the report concerns the snowballing opioid epidemic. According to the report, out of the 211 deaths related to drugs, 166 included opioids. This is twice as many opioid-related deaths as there was in 2015, when 81 people succumbed to death due to opioids. Furthermore, when this subset of drug-related deaths is examined more closely, an even more disturbing trend becomes apparent: the increase in the number of opioid-related deaths that involved the especially potent synthetic opioid, fentanyl, had tripled from 13 in 2015 to 48 in 2016.
And these weren’t the only combinations of substances that were found among those who died from drug-related causes in New Orleans in 2016. While cocaine was present in the systems of 34 overdose victims in 2015, it was found in 105 of the accidental drug overdoses in 2016. And while methamphetamines were found in 4 of the deaths in 2015, they were found in 18 of the 2016 accidental overdose victims.
Other significant findings included the fact that there was no significant alteration in the gender distribution of the deaths between 2015 and 2016. However, there was a shift in racial statistics: while both black and white people saw increases in the number of deaths related to drugs, the rate of black people who suffered from accidental overdose deaths increased more dramatically than the complimentary rate for white people.
Dr. Rouse stated that New Orleans was entrenched in a crisis caused by the drug-related fatalities, and indicated that the primary driving cause was the national opioid epidemic the United States is currently struggling to overcome. He strongly advocated for the expansion of available addiction recovery programs, and for better criminal justice procedures related to drug-related crime. Finally, he urged the future leadership of the city to consider these disturbing facts as they determine where to proceed from here.
If you or someone close to you needs addiction recovery treatment, contact Affinity Recovery today. One of our friendly addiction technicians will be available to answer any questions you have about receiving treatment.