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Fentanyl-related opioid deaths rise in New Brunswick in 2023


New Brunswick's Health Department says fentanyl is increasingly responsible for opioid-related deaths in the province.

A report by the department says there were 72 opioid deaths in 2023, with 71 of them accidental or whose cause the province is still investigating.

Of the 71 accidental or "pending intent" deaths, 54 per cent were related to fentanyl or fentanyl analogs, which is the largest percentage to date.

The department says the province recorded 77 opioid deaths in 2022, 68 of which were accidental or whose cause is under investigation.

Of those 68 deaths, 40 per cent were related to fentanyl or fentanyl analogs.

The department says that in 2023 ambulance workers administered naloxone -- which reverses the effects of opioids -- to 689 people suspected of overdosing on opioids.

It says the rate of people who "responded" to naloxone, indicating they were indeed suffering an opioid-related overdose, is the highest to date.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2024.

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