Drug overdose deaths decline in 2012

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By Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Overall drug overdose deaths in New Mexico are dropping but fatal prescription drugs overdoses are up, state health officials announced Tuesday.
According to newly released numbers by the New Mexico Department of Health, 486 people died in New Mexico in 2012. That’s a 7 percent decrease from the year before.
Records showed that there were 24.2 deaths per 100,000 persons, a decrease from the 2011 rate of 25.9. More males than females died from drug overdoses in 2012. In fact, more than 60.1 percent of drug overdose deaths were to men.
Officials said that overdose deaths from prescription drugs jumped, but the department declined to give details on numbers.
“One of the main concerns is that overdose deaths due to prescription drugs are increasing,” said Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward. “The department is partnering with organizations to increase knowledge and availability of naloxone, which can help reverse an opioid overdose.”
Officials did say that around 1.6 million prescriptions for opioid analgesics were filled in New Mexico from July 2012 through June 2013.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared two years ago that prescription drug overdose deaths have become a national epidemic.

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