Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageIllicit opioids driving increase in drug deaths in U.S.

By Karen Graham     Dec 17, 2016 in Health
New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show opioid-related deaths increased by upwards of 33 percent in 2015, with heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl being the main culprits.
In the CDC's latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, issued on Friday, CDC researchers reported that 33,091 of the 52,404 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2015 involved opioids, including the illegal drugs heroin and fentanyl, and prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Particularly concerning is the rise in synthetic opioid deaths. Overdoses from drugs like fentanyl rose 73 percent, to 9,580. Abuse of drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin killed 17,536, an increase of four percent.
The CDC also provided data from death certificates for opioid deaths in 28 states. A total of 16 states saw a jump in death rates from synthetic opioids including illicit fentanyl. The hardest hit were New York (135.7 percent), Connecticut (125.9 percent) and Illinois (120 percent).
When it came to heroin deaths, 11 states saw an increase, with South Carolina (57.1 percent), North Carolina (46.4 percent) and Tennessee (43.5 percent) seeing the biggest increase. "It's certainly disheartening for those of us in public health," said Katherine Keyes, a Columbia University epidemiologist who researches drug abuse issues, according to Fox News.
"Too many Americans are feeling the devastation of the opioid crisis either from misuse of prescription opioids or use of illicit opioids," said Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the CDC. "Urgent action is needed to help health care providers treat pain safely and treat opioid use disorder effectively, support law enforcement strategies to reduce the availability of illicit opiates, and support states to develop and implement programs that can save lives."
And again, the CDC warns that the distribution of illicitly produced fentanyl, most often from China is fueling the increase in a high percentage of overdose deaths, something that has been discussed At length in recent news reports, including in Digital Journal.
The CDC's report comes at a time when people are celebrating the holiday season and is a sobering reminder that many families will be celebrating the season without a loved one this year because of a drug overdose that resulted in death.
More about overdose deaths, illicit opioids, CDC report, fentanyl, Heroin
More news from
Latest News
Top News