NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The number of Tennessee residents who died of drug overdoses has risen more than 8 percent, setting another record in 2017.
The state Health Department said 1,776 Tennesseans died from overdoses last year, the most since reporting began. The number was up from 1,631 in 2016, also a record and a 12 percent increase from 1,451 in 2015.
The agency said almost three-fourths of drug overdose deaths in Tennessee last year were associated with opioids. Of the 1,268 deaths linked to opioids, 644 were associated with prescription opioids for pain. That was the largest group associated with overdose deaths.
The Health Department said in a news release that there was a 70 percent increase in deaths associated with fentanyl, which is similar to heroin but more potent and dangerous.