Connecticut is on track to record a grim statistic this year: more than 1,000 deaths by drug overdose.
The state’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. James Gill, just released data showing 539 people died in Connecticut from accidental drug overdoses in the first six months of this year.
If that rate continues through December, Connecticut will break one thousand deaths in a calendar year for the first time. Last year, 917 people died of overdose.
The drugs that are contributing to this epidemic are also revealed in the report.
While the rate of heroin overdoses seems to be on par so far with 2016, the more powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl is a growing problem.
In the first six months of the year, 322 overdose deaths involved fentanyl. If that trend continues, the drug will have been implicated in more overdose deaths than any other single cause this year, the first time that’s happened.
Meanwhile the use of prescription opioids appears to be falling - Connecticut is currently witnessing about 25 percent fewer overdoses involving oxycodone.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy issued a statement on the figures, calling it devastating. "The opioid epidemic is ravaging our state, and it’s not slowing down,” he said. "Republicans and Democrats need to start working together to address this crisis."
WNPR's Opioid Addiction Crisis Reporting Initiative is supported by Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network's MATCH Program.