Fatal drug overdoses in United States on the rise, CDC says

Posted February 25, 2017

The study found that overdose rates rose for Hispanic people and non-Hispanic black people and at an average rate of two percent per year.

Overall, the rate of fatal overdoses from all drugs has increased more than 2.5 times since 1999, rising from 6.1 deaths per 100,000 people then to 16.3 deaths in 2015, according to the new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2015, the percentage of drug overdose deaths involving heroin (25%) was triple the percentage in 1999 (8%).

Some states had 2015 overdose death rates that were well above the national average of 16.3 per 100,000.

"Starting in 2011, overdoses involving heroin has really skyrocketed".

The US Drug Enforcement Agency, tasked with monitoring and enforcing the country's federal laws on drugs, says heroin seizures increased. In Wisconsin, policy makers launched an opioid task force and facilitated lower prices on an anti-overdose drug.

The states with the highest age-adjusted intrastate rates of overdose deaths in 2015 were West Virginia (41.5 deaths per 100,000), New Hampshire (34.3), Kentucky (29.9), OH (29.9) and Rhode Island (28.2), while 16 other states also had death rates higher than the national rate of overdose deaths (16.3). Similarly, the percentage of deaths caused by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids (with the exception of methadone) climbed from 8 percent to 18 percent from 2010 to 2015.

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In 2015, the rate for whites was almost three times higher than that among Hispanics and almost double the rate for blacks, USA Today said.

That number is higher than the rate of death for suicides in the U.S., 13.4 deaths per 100,000, or the rate of death from auto accidents, 11.1 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Efforts to reduce overdose deaths should also focus on increasing access to evidenced-based treatments for substance use disorders, Mooney said.

The state with the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in 2015 was West Virginia, with a rate of 41 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by New Hampshire, with a rate of 34 deaths per 100,000 people, and Kentucky and OH, both of which had about 30 overdose deaths per 100,000 people.

Friday's study also found the share of drug overdose deaths from prescription opioids dropped from 29 percent in 2010 to 24 percent in 2015.

Slovis said some illicit synthetic opioids can be 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin.

"When you use an elephant tranquilizer on a human, bad things are going to happen", Slovis said, according to ABC.