Heroin-related overdose deaths triple in 5 years, new report

adults, aged 55 to 64 — from 4.2 percent to 21.8, per 100,000 people. The highest increase (30 percent) was seen among adults aged 45-54, which represents a five-fold upsurge in the drug overdose deaths from 1999.

Non-Hispanic white individuals saw their rate of drug overdose deaths increase the most in 2015 — nearly 2.5 times since 1999. Hispanics saw a 43 percent rise, from 5.4 to 7.7. And non-Hispanic black persons saw a 63 percent rise, from 7.5 to 12.2.

“Improving the way opioids are prescribed through a clinical practice guideline helps health care providers offer safer, more effective treatment while reducing opioid-related abuse and overdose,” Lenard said.

In 2010, 12 percent of drug overdose deaths involved methadone and 29 percent were linked to semi-synthetic or natural opioids — the probability decreased to 6 percent and 24 percent, respectively, in 2015. However, drug-related fatalities due to heroin escalated from 8 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in 2015. Considerable hikes were also seen in overdose fatalities that involved synthetic opioids that weren’t methadone, 8 percent in 2010 to 18 percent in 2015.

“As a patient, a healthcare provider, or a member of a community, you can ensure that the best information is being shared and understood to prevent opioid overdose deaths,” Lenard said.

“[You can] learn more about opioids so you can help people who are most at risk for opioid use disorder and overdose in your community,” and “help those struggling with opioid use disorder find the right care and treatment.”