HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- The state has released new data on accidental drug overdose deaths that happened in Connecticut last year.

According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the total number of accidental intoxication deaths in 2019 increased 18 percent compared to 2018.

The state reported 1,200 accidental intoxication deaths in 2019.

Officials said there continues to be an increase in deaths involving fentanyl, a 29 percent increase, and cocaine, a 34 percent increase. Among the deaths with cocaine, 85 percent also involved fentanyl.

Xylazine, a veterinary tranquilizer, was also detected in 71 fentanyl deaths.

The ages of people who died last year from accidental intoxication ranged from 17 to 74 years old.

According to the medical examiner, opioids were present in 298 overdose deaths in 2012. By 2014, the number was 513. Then in 2016, it went to 861 deaths, followed by 916 deaths the following year. This past year, opioids were found in 1,127 overdose cases.

Deaths from heroin, morphine and codeine have been dropping. The drugs were present in 195 overdose deaths in 2012, but peaked at 541 in 2016. Last year, that number was back down to 400.

Instead, the synthetic opioid fentanyl is accounting for increasing number of deaths. It was found in just 4 percent of overdose deaths in 2012, but quickly rose to 53 percent by 2016, then 75 percent in 2018. Last year, fentanyl was found in 82 percent of overdose deaths.

To read more statistics, click here.

Sue Willette, organizer of Rally for Hope Connecticut, said part of the problem is a lack of access to in-patient detox programs.

“Those numbers shouldn’t be going up, they should be going down,” Willette said.

Rally for Hope Connecticut’s demand for support services is constantly growing, Willette said.

Two of her sons are recovering from drug addictions, including one from opioids. But one of her sons lost a girlfriend in 2018 to an overdose. She was five months pregnant and trying to get help.

“When you’ve got a pregnant woman begging for help, you have to do something,” Willette said.

While she considers herself lucky her sons are now sober, they continue to feel the pain of losing friends and classmates.

“Sometimes it’s like you don’t become hardened, it comes to the point where it’s like, oh, I lost another friend,” she said.

If you or someone you know needs help with substance abuse, click here for more information.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(2) comments

RG

It boggles my mind how, with such publicity of how addictive and dangerous opioids are, that new people will keep coming along to try the drug. Sad that we can't learn form others mistakes and have to keep repeating this misery over and over and over. If I was pressured by friends to try it I would drop them like a hot potato!

Blavigne

if these deaths involve drugs, I doubt they were "accidental"

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