Opioid overdose deaths just jumped again

EnlargeGetty | Drew Angerer

Over the same period, the percentage of overdose deaths blamed on cocaine rose to 13 percent in 2015 from 11% in 2010, according to the study. Many people became addicted to opioids from using prescription painkillers, but as access to those drugs was tightened in response, they moved on to heroin and synthetic opioids to feed their addiction.

The study also shows more men than women die of drug overdose, and that such deaths are most common among people in their mid-40's to their mid-50's, and white Americans had the highest rate of drug OD death among all ethnic groups.

Deaths from fentanyl (a synthetic opioid) have increased from accounting for 8 percent (of all overdoses) in 2010 to 18 percent in 2015.

Overdose death rates increased for all age groups in the last 15 years, with deaths of those aged 55-64 making up the greatest percentage increase (4.2 per 100,000 in 1999 to 21.8 in 2015).

The NCHS report relied on mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System and did not examine underlying cause of deaths.

The United States is facing an opioid epidemic and fatal overdoses of heroin have more than quadrupled in a five year period ending 2015, according to a new USA government report. The overdose death rate among whites in 2015 was almost 3.5 times the rate it was in 1999.

Authors of the study note in 2010 only eight percent of all fatal drug overdoses stemmed from heroin. More than 33,000 people died from opioids in 2015, and the CDC noted almost 500,000 people between 2000 to 2015 have suffered related deaths.

EnlargeCDC
EnlargeCDC

Four states - West Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky and OH - lead the nation with the highest overdose death rates, the CDC said.

In 2015, the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths among non-Hispanic white persons (21.1 per 100,000) was almost 3.5 times the rate in 1999 (6.2).

While the number of heroin-related deaths quadrupled from 2010 to 2015, the percentage share of all overdose deaths that were related to heroin tripled, from 8 percent to 25 percent.

And despite persistent concerns over teens and young adults abusing drugs, middle-aged adults were the most likely to suffer a fatal overdose, according to the report.

With opioid use increasing, Slovis said emergency services has had a hard time responding to all the overdose calls.

This increase occurred despite growing awareness of the opioid epidemic and a rise in funding for opioid addiction treatment, said Mooney, who was not involved in the research.


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