Coroner’s Report on 2017 Accidental Drug-Related Deaths in New Orleans 

NEW ORLEANS | April 27, 2018

  • In New Orleans, there were 219 accidental drug-related deaths in 2017, as compared to 211 in 2016 and 92 in 2015.
  • Toxicological analysis in most drug-related deaths revealed the presence of multiple drugs.
  • In 2017, opiates were discovered in 166 drug-related deaths, as compared to the same figure (166) in 2016 and 81 in 2015.
  • Within this group of accidental opiate-related deaths in New Orleans, 87 persons died accidentally with fentanyl in their system, as compared to 48 in 2016 and 13 in 2015.
  • Cocaine was present in 116 accidental drug-related deaths in 2017, as compared to 105 in 2016 and 34 in 2015.
  • Methamphetamines/amphetamines were present in 14 accidental drug-related deaths in 2017, as compared to 18 in 2016 and 4 in 2015.
  • No significant change was seen in gender distribution between the years, with males representing 79% of the drug-related deaths in 2017.
  • As opposed to 2015 and 2016, the majority of persons who died of accidental drug-related causes were African American — African-Americans represented 52% of drug-related deaths in 2017, as compared to 45% in 2016 and 28% in 2014.

“The public health crisis of drug-related deaths continues to evolve in New Orleans. Without the early use of naloxone in the field by first responders and citizens alike, I suspect the opiate death toll would have been higher, for the opiate market keeps shifting towards highly lethal, synthetic opiates such as fentanyl. Medically, expanding access to all levels of addiction treatment is the solution, before persons end up in the coroner’s office.”