DENVER — New state Department of Health figures show overdose deaths from just one type of opioid painkiller outnumbered all homicides in Colorado in 2015.
The Denver Post reports that 259 people died in 2015 from overdoses of what health officials call "natural" prescription opioids, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. That compares with 205 people who died from homicide that year.
Opioid deaths have topped total homicides each year in Colorado since 2011.
When adding in deaths by other prescription opioids and heroin, the total number of opiate-related deaths in Colorado was 472 in 2015.
Officials say the southern region of the state has been particularly hard hit by the drug epidemic.