Coroner: New Orleans drug overdose deaths doubled in 2016
NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans coroner says that overdose deaths in the city doubled last year.
Dr. Jeffrey Rouse says in a news release Monday that 211 people died of accidental drug-related deaths in 2016 as compared to 92 the previous year.
Rouse says it's likely the first time overdose deaths have surpassed homicides in the city's history. There were 175 homicides in the city last year.
Rouse says the city is in the middle of a "public health crisis" linked to the national opiate epidemic.
He says most people who died of a drug overdose had multiple drugs in their system. But, opiates were found in nearly 80 percent of the overdose cases.
There was also a threefold increase in the frequency of fentanyl - a powerful synthetic opioid.