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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

A Record Number Of Vermonters Died From Opioid Overdoses In 2016

A record number of Vermonters died last year from opioid overdoses.Preliminary numbers released by the the Vermont Department of Health show 105 people fatally overdosed in 2016 on heroin or prescription opiates. That compares to 75 fatalities in 2015.

Barbara Cimaglio, deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health, announced the preliminary figure for 2016 on Vermont Edition Wednesday.

Cimaglio said there are tests which still need to be completed before that count can be considered an official number.

Listen to the Vermont Edition discussion on the rise in opiate-related deaths.

The deaths came despite widespread availability of naloxone, an overdose reversal drug that is now carried by many police agencies and first responders.

In 2014, then-Gov. Peter Shumlin focused his entire State of the State address on Vermont's opioid and heroin epidemic.

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