Orleans Parish Coroner, Dr. Jeffrey Rouse, reports that there were 211 drug-related deaths in the city in 2016, 119 more than in 2015.
For the first time, accidental overdose deaths exceeded the number of murders in the city. There were 175 homicides in 2016.
166 persons died from opioid overdoses.
"I'm concerned about what the 2017 numbers are really going to look like, especially if some of the other drugs that are out there, that scare the pants off of anybody in the business, really start getting into the mix," Rouse said.
The coroner says "New Orleans is in the midst of an accelerating public health crisis of drug-related deaths, driven chiefly but not exclusively by the ongoing national opiate epidemic."
Dr. Rouse is calling for the expansion of treatment programs.
"Regarding criminal justice, I call upon leaders at all levels to support and expand drug diversion programs and drug courts that prioritize treatment rather than punishment for users. Finally, I call upon all those who seek to lead this city as our next mayor to heed these grim statistics and to articulate their plan to stem this growing tide of preventable deaths," said Rouse.