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N.H. Medical Examiner: At Least 161 Drug Overdoses So Far in 2016

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  The latest numbers from the New Hampshire Office of the Chief Medical Examiner show that at least 161 people have fatally overdosed so far in 2016.

Officials are anticipating that those numbers will continue to rise in the months ahead, and the state is projecting at least 494 overdose deaths by the end of the year. 

Another 86 cases from 2016 are under review, and that process can take a few months. (In recent years, the state toxicology lab has struggled to keep pace with an uptick in drug cases.)

In 2015, 439 people died from drug overdoses in New Hampshire, up from more than 100 the year before.

So far this year, fentanyl has been involved in two-thirds of all drug deaths, either alone or combined with other substances. That’s roughly the same rate of deaths involving fentanyl that the state saw in 2015, too.

According to the medical examiner’s office, at least one person has also died because of a substance called “U-47700,” described as “ an illegally produced chemical analogue of fentanyl.” It is “6-8 times more potent than morphine, but not as potent as pharmaceutical fentanyl,” according to the state.

Here’s more details on the drug overdoses seen in New Hampshire over the last few years. (Keep in mind: The totals from 2016 are, at this point, much smaller than the totals from previous years because we're only halfway through the year.)

Casey McDermott is a senior news editor at New Hampshire Public Radio. Throughout her time as an NHPR reporter and editor, she has worked with colleagues across the newsroom to deepen the station’s accountability coverage, data journalism and audience engagement across platforms.

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