Opioid-related accidental or undetermined fatalities in Chittenden County, and statewide, have continued to climb steadily year over year. This same trend is observed on a National level as well, where opioid-related overdose deaths increased by 15.5% from 2014 to 2015, as noted in this National Institute on Drug Abuse report. Between 2010 and 2016, opioid-related accidental or undetermined fatalities accounted for 65.6% of all drug-related fatalities in Chittenden County, with yearly percentages reaching as low as 58.6% in 2011, and as high as 76% in 2014. To illustrate the growing presence of opioids in overdose deaths, both "Accidental Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths" and "Total Drug-Related Drugs" have been graphed together. To view both graphs side by side, click on the title of this metric, then click "Trend Line Comparison". This increase in opioid-related overdoses tracks closely with National trends, as roughly 61% of all overdose fatalities in the US were opioid-related in 2014, as were 63% in 2015, as reported by the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths. This Vermont Department of Health Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programming Data Brief provides additional information and context on drug-related fatality trends in Vermont, and this Data Brief provides additional information specifically on opioid-related fatality trends.
Though it can be difficult to find causal links that explain rises and declines in opioid-related accidental or undetermined fatalities year to year, there are a number of initiatives being pursued to decrease fatalities due to opioid abuse disorder in Chittenden County, and Vermont. Chief among them is the Naloxone Pilot Project, which aims to provide the life-saving drug Narcan to as many Vermonters as possible, as well as the CommStat initiative within the CCOA, which among other objectives, aims to provide a lifeline of resources to those most in danger of fatally overdosing.