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Nov 10, 2015 4:56 PM

NH data reveals some unexpected overdose hotspots in drug epidemic

NH1.com

By the numbers, Manchester had - by far - the greatest number of drug overdose deaths last year. But a look at overdose deaths in other communities show several with drug problems as large if not larger, by population.

The top hotspots turn out to be Derry, Rochester and Laconia - with a similar or greater proportion of drug deaths by population than Manchester, the state's biggest city with roughly 110,500 people.

Other cities in NH have far fewer drug overdose deaths than you might expect given their size. This includes Nashua and Concord with roughly 87,000 and 43,000 people respectively.

Meanwhile communities like Dover, Salem, Keene and Portsmouth, while different in size, all have proportionately the same number of overdose deaths in 2014.

What all these communities share, with the one exception of Keene, is a marked increase between the years 2013 and 2014 in overdose deaths, many of them involving the synthetic opioid, fentanyl.

Here's how the numbers play out in 2014, according to data from the Chief Medical Examiner's Office (ordered by population size based on the latest estimates of the U.S. Census).

The numbers

- Manchester, 52 drug overdose deaths, 20 of which involved fentanyl alone or in combination with other drugs

- Nashua, 27 drug overdose deaths, 11 or which involved fentanyl alone or in combination

- Concord, 13 drug overdose deaths, 3 of which involved fentanyl alone or in combination

- Derry, 19 drug overdose deaths, 7 of which involved fentanyl alone or in combination

- Dover, 10 drug overdose deaths, 3 of which involved fentanyl alone

- Rochester, 16 drug overdose deaths, 6 of which involved fentanyl alone or in combination

- Salem, 9 drug overdose deaths, 4 of which involved fentanyl alone

- Keene, 7 drug overdose deaths, 4 of which involved fentanyl alone or in combination

- Portsmouth, 6 drug overdose deaths, 4 of which involved fentanyl alone

- Laconia, 10 drug overdose deaths, 6 of which involved fentanyl alone or in combination

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