2019 OD deaths: Nashua, Manchester buck NH’s downward trend

NH Union Leader –

For two years in a row, New Hampshire has seen a decrease in drug overdose deaths. But many officials say there is still a long way to go to address the epidemic.

The state anticipates a total of 364 drug deaths in 2019 — 107 fewer than the 471 deaths in 2018, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The total includes 80 pending toxicology reports, which can take months to complete.

Between 2017 and 2018, the deaths across the state decreased by 19 — 490 to 471, according to state data.

David Mara, the governor’s adviser on addiction and behavioral health, hopes New Hampshire is turning a corner in the nationwide opioid crisis.

“That is a significant decrease,” he said. “It means that some of the things we are doing in the state are working.”

Mara, who previously served as police chief in Manchester and Portsmouth, mentioned more people seeking treatment through the state’s Doorway opioid response system, launched last January, and other initiatives, including the distribution of naloxone kits.

“The Doorway is getting people into the system and as we keep on building capacity for that system we believe we are going to have a bigger effect on the number next year as well,” Mara said.

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