Number of drug overdose deaths keeps climbing

Number of drug overdose deaths keeps climbing

Drug overdose fatalities continue to escalate in the U.S., according to a new government data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The federal paper, a quarterly mortality report by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, revealed a rise in fatal drug overdoses within a year period that concluded in September 2016 reaching 18.5 overdose fatalities per 100,000 people, an increase from 16.1 in 2015.

“Opioid overdoses related to prescription opioids and to heroin have taken the lives of too many Americans,” said Courtney Lenard, a spokesperson for the CDC.

“Prescription opioid overdose has taken the lives of more than 180,000 Americans since 1999 and approximately 15,000 in 2015 alone,” she added. “Heroin overdose has taken the lives of more than 69,000 Americans since 1999 and more than 12,000 in 2015 alone.”

Lenard said that heroin and prescription opioid overdoses are closely related. “Evidence suggests that widespread opioid exposure and increasing rates of opioid addiction have played a major role in the growth of heroin use. A recent analysis showed that among individuals who have used heroin in the past year, 3 out of 4 had misused prescription opioids first.”

The data reveals an increase from its previous 12-month period, which was already a record-breaking year for opioid-related deaths.

Deadly drug overdoses peaked at 19.9 cases per 100,000 individuals in the summer of 2016. In contrast, the previous summer reached 16.7 per 100,000.

The CDC also found that 33,091 out of 52,404 (63 percent) overdose fatalities were linked to opioids such as OxyContin, Percocet and fentanyl. The total number of overdose deaths depict a 75 percent spike since 2005 when 29,833 overdose fatalities occurred.

Lenard said the CDC is and will continue to increase efforts between public safety and public health to better understand the illicit availability of… (continue reading)