Coroner: New Orleans Overdose Deaths Outpacing Homicides

Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Rouse

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans officials say they've seen a sharp increase in the number of overdose deaths involving opioids in the city this year.

         Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Rouse tells The Times-Picayune’s Greg LaRose that there were 65 opioid deaths in New Orleans in 2016 as of May 31. That's compared to 47 homicides over the same period.

         Rouse says fatal overdoses from heroin and fentanyl account for the growing toll. Opioid deaths from the first five months of this year have already outpaced the count for all of 2015, when 63 deaths were attributed to opioid overdoses.

         Rouse shared the numbers at a meeting Wednesday where budget updates were provided. He says having to order more state-required toxicology tests in order to classify overdose deaths has, in part, caused slight overspending.

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