Last year, 1,451 people died of drug overdoses in Tennessee — the highest annual number of overdose deaths in state history.
The new data, released Tuesday from the Tennessee Department of Health, brings the five-year total of overdose deaths, statewide, to 6,036 — the same, the state said, as if every person on 40 mid-size jet airplanes died.
Almost 72 percent of those deaths, the state said, involved opioid drugs. About 30 percent combined opioid and benzodiazepine drugs, like Xanax.
Deaths caused by fentanyl, a powerful painkiller that rose in availability in East Tennessee over the past year, more than doubled: 174 deaths in 2015, up from 69 in 2014, the state said. Heroin-associated deaths statewide increased to 205 in 2016, from 147 in 2015.
Read the full story on The Tennessean.