NH drug overdose deaths drop in 2023


NH on USA map
New Hampshire saw a decrease in drug overdose deaths in 2023, making it one of 34 states with fewer drug overdose deaths, the National Centers for Disease Control reported Wednesday.Photo/CDC National Center for Health Statistics

Concord, New Hampshire – Drug overdose deaths in New Hampshire dropped significantly in 2023, according to data released by the state medical examiner and the National Centers for Disease Control.

New Hampshire’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said in a news release Wednesday that 430 people died from overdoses in 2023, an 11.7% decrease from the 487 deaths in 2022.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also released statistics Wednesday, listing 421 overdose deaths in New Hampshire, down from 484 in 2022, a decrease of 13.02%. The CDC noted that its numbers are provisional pending final data.

The number of overdose deaths in 2023 was the lowest in the state’s history since 2020, when the medical examiner recorded 415 deaths.

Number of deaths per year
New Hampshire had 430 drug overdose deaths in 2023, the lowest number in three years, according to statistics from the New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s Office (right) and the National Centers for Disease Control (left).Graphic/ink link


There have been 85 confirmed drug overdose deaths in the state this year, 53 of which are pending toxicology testing, according to the medical examiner’s office.

in January, Centers for Medical Response reports overall downward trend in drug overdoses in the state’s two largest cities, Manchester and Nashua. AMR is the service that responds to emergency calls in both cities.

AMR’s Christopher Stawasz said in January that while numbers can change quickly, “it’s very encouraging and reflects the level of effort put in by everyone involved in prevention, treatment and recovery efforts in New Hampshire.” The effort is non-stop and lives are saved every day.

last month, Manchester launches overdose prevention strategythe first of its kind in the city.

Manchester Mayor Jay Ruais said at the time that while the number of suspected opioid overdose deaths had dropped by 25% in the past 12 months, more needed to be done to address the issue, particularly with the city’s response to homeless people. combination of response measures. About half of the city’s overdoses are people of no fixed address.

To prevent overdose deaths, AMR’s Stavaz said, “It is critical that people who use illicit drugs do not use drugs alone and have narcotics readily available.”

“It’s completely safe and easy to administer,” Stavaz said.

Narcotics are available without a prescription at most pharmacies across the state, and are also available for free at local public health departments and at any NH Doorway location.

Drug Type NHME and CDC
In 2023, opioids were by far the largest cause of overdose deaths in New Hampshire. In some cases, more than one drug is involved.Graphic/ink link


Drug Types, National Trends

New Hampshire’s data reflects a national downward trend in overdose deaths, the first such decline nationwide since 2018. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

In 2023, 107,543 drug overdose deaths were reported in the United States, a 3% decrease from the 2022 estimate of 111,029.

The largest cause of overdose deaths nationwide are deaths involving opioids, with the number in 2023 at 81,083, down from 84,181. Most of these were synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which led to 74,702 deaths in 2023, down from 76,226 in 2022.

New Hampshire reflects this trend, with 381 opioid deaths, 362 of which were synthetic opioids, according to the CDC.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, making even small doses more lethal. Other drugs are often added without, and sometimes without the user’s knowledge, increasing the number of deaths related to other types of drugs. If it is mixed with another drug, it cannot be detected by sight or smell.

Psychostimulants, including methamphetamine, are the second leading cause of death in New Hampshire, accounting for 62 deaths. Cocaine followed, killing 61 people. Some deaths involve more than one drug.

Nationwide, psychostimulants are also the second-highest cause of death and one of two reasons for the increase – 36,251 deaths in 2023 compared to 35,550 in 2022.

Cocaine, the nation’s third-leading cause, also saw an increase. There will be 29,918 cocaine overdose deaths in 2023, compared with 28,441 in 2022.

2023 compared to 2024
New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s Office statistics on drug deaths in the state for 2023 and the first four months of 2024.


Decreases or increases across the U.S.

New Hampshire ranks third among New England states in percentage overdose decline and is one of 34 states to see overdose declines in 2023, according to CDC data.

New England CDC 2023 drug overdose death toll:

  • Number of deaths per year
    New Hampshire had 430 drug overdose deaths in 2023, the lowest number in three years, according to statistics from the New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s Office (right) and the National Centers for Disease Control (left).Graphic/ink link

The states with the largest increases in drug overdose deaths in 2023 were Alaska, Washington and Oregon, which saw increases of at least 27% or more from 2022.


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