And accidental drug-related deaths, which have been steadily increasing for several years, shot up during the last three months of 2016 and continued at the same level or higher early this year, a pace that would end 2017 up 30 percent for the second year in a row. Accidental overdose deaths statewide were up even more: 37 percent in 2016 , according to data collected from county coroners throughout Pennsylvania by the local division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The latest federal data show a 21 percent increase in total drug mortality – a projected 64,000 deaths nationwide — for the 12 months ending Jan. 31.
“They didn’t cut out the stuff that’s expensive, or the stuff that’s hard to do, or the stuff that makes the place look bad,” said Gastfriend, who has consulted with several states, cities, and foreign countries on addiction issues. He called the report a model for other cities, saying that the task force “seemed to want something that was scientifically valid, meaningful, a true guide to things needed for dealing with this epidemic.” He was impressed that the report not only seeks to expand use of medication-assisted treatments like buprenorphine but seeks to track how many get it.