More people died from drug overdoses in Tennessee during 2013 than the prior year, the Tennessee Department of Health said Tuesday.
Overdose fatalities totaled 1,166. More Tennesseans died from drug overdoses than in motor vehicle accidents, homicides or suicides. The increase in overdose deaths over 2012 was 6.5 percent.
Health officials are reminding the public that people now have an option that can save the lives of loved ones who are at risk for overdoses. On July 1, Tennessee began allowing doctors to prescribe an antidote to narcotic overdoses called naloxone.
"If you, a friend or a loved one is at risk for an opioid overdose, talk with your health care provider about a very safe antidote that anyone can learn to administer," said Tennessee Commissioner of Health Dr. John Dreyzehner. "In many opioid overdoses, death can be prevented by administering the drug naloxone, almost immediately reversing the deadly effects of opioids and allowing time to reach further medical treatment."
Naloxone is available in forms that can either be injected or inhaled.
Deaths from motor vehicle accidents also went up in 2013. There were 1,008 such deaths, compared with 958 in 2012.
Suicides increased to 1,017 from 956 the prior year.
However, homicides plunged 11 percent from the prior year. A total of 405 homicides were reported last year, compared with 456 in 2012.