Orleans Coroner: Fentanyl leading cause of drug related deaths

Orleans Coroner: Fentanyl leading cause of drug related deaths
Coroner: Fentanyl leading cause of drug related deaths (Source: DEA)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Dwight McKenna released a report Tuesday (March 2) with data that shows accidental drug deaths have increased by 51 percent in Orleans Parish in 2020 as compared to 2019.

“The opioid epidemic in Orleans Parish is being fueled by a highly lethal, synthetic opiate known as fentanyl,” said McKenna. “As a result, street drugs in New Orleans are more deadly than they have ever been. In 2020, the number of overdose deaths in New Orleans was almost double the number of homicides.”

The report shows that in 2020, there were a total of 365 accidental drug deaths. By comparison, there were 241 total accidental drug deaths in 2019.

The number of deaths that were traced back to fentanyl increased by 78 percent, according to the report. In 2019, the total number of fentanyl-related death was a total of 107. One year later, that number increased to 284.

148 of those that died, 40 percent, also tested positive for cocaine. That accounts for a 52 percent increase from 2019 when there were 97 positive tests.

In 2019, there were 50 positive tests for amphetamines. In 2020 there were a total of 66 positive tests, accounting for a 32 percent increase in deaths where there was a positive amphetamine test.

In 2020, 204 deaths were black, 151 were white, 6 were Hispanic, and 4 were other/unknown. In 2019, 115 deaths were Black, 113 were White, 4 were Hispanic, 3 were Asian, and 6 were other/unknown.

As in previous years, toxicological analysis in most drug-related deaths revealed the presence of multiple drugs.

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