Published: Sat, February 25, 2017
Health Care | By Kelly Miles

Rate of fatal drug overdoses doubles since 1999, CDC finds

Rate of fatal drug overdoses doubles since 1999, CDC finds

Heroin caused more overdoses than any other drug, according to USA Today.

The rate of fatal overdoses increased from 6.1 deaths per 100,000 people in 1999 to 16.3 deaths per 100,000 in 2015, ABC said. The percentage of drug overdose deaths involving heroin (25%) was triple the percentage in 1999; opioids make up 24% of overdose deaths; the other half are a mix of synthetic opioids (18%), methadone (6%), cocaine (13%) and psycho-stimulants like methamphetamine (11%).

Heroin-related deaths in the USA skyrocketed in the span of five years, amounting to a quarter of all overdose deaths by 2015, according to new federal data, presenting another grim snapshot of America's opioid epidemic.

The drug overdose death rate increased by about 10 percent per year from 1999 to 2006, and then continued to increase but at a slower rate, rising 3 percent per year from 2006 to 2013.

The overdose death rate for non-Hispanic black persons in 2015 was 12.2 deaths per 100,000, an increase from 7.5 in 1999, while the rate for Hispanic persons went up from 5.4 to 7.7 over that time period. While overdose death rates increased for all age groups, the greatest increase was in adults aged 55-64.

Among the age groups, the hardest hit is the 45-to-54 group.

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Stay updated on this and other stories by downloading the FREE 11Alive News app now in the iTunes store or on Google Play. At the same time, the percentage of deaths caused by methadone as well as by natural and semisynthetic opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone both dropped.

Generation X and baby boomer had the biggest jump in deaths from drug overdoses.

Four states - West Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky and OH - lead the nation with the highest overdose death rates, the CDC said. To make matters worse, drug dealers started cutting heroin with even cheaper and more potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl, further increasing the risk of overdose and death.

The age-adjusted rate of overdose-related deaths among non-Hispanic white persons increased by a rate of nearly 3.5 from 1999 to 2015 (21.1 deaths per 100,000), the NCHS reported.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency, tasked with monitoring and enforcing the country's federal laws on drugs, says heroin seizures increased. "This increase for whites was largely accounted for by increasing death rates from drug and alcohol poisonings, suicide, and chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis", a 2015 study by researchers at Princeton University concluded.

The heroin and opioid epidemic has taken its toll.

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