Drug overdoses hit new high in 2017 — CDC

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Drug overdoses hit new high in 2017 — CDC

Fatal drug overdoses killed more Americans than HIV, vehicle crashes or guns in 2017, claiming 72,000 lives, according to a preliminary estimation from the CDC.

Some of the states that saw the largest increase were North Carolina and New Jersey, each reporting an increase of better than 20 percent in 2017.

Deaths involving cocaine also went up significantly, but deaths from heroin, prescription opioid pills and methadone fell previous year, the data show. Those areas did see a drop in overdose deaths over the course of the year, and that trend has continued into 2018.

CNN reports that 25 people overdosed on opioid-laced drugs on Wednesday alone in the city of New Haven, Connecticut.

"The most striking patterns at the national level are the recent increases in the numbers of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids (excluding methadone)", Lauren Rossen, co-author of the report and a statistician at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, wrote in an email. Deaths involving natural opiates, including oxycodone and hydrocone seem to have plateaued.

That represents a rise of 6.6 percent nationwide from 2016 and a death toll higher than any other cause of non-disease death in the US, including HIV, homicides, or vehicle crashes. The number of deaths from cocaine mixed with opioid synthetics increased from just under 1,000 in 2014 to 4,184 in 2016.

The lag time between death and when the data are available for analysis is longer for drug overdose deaths compared with other causes of death, the CDC says.

Fatal drug overdoses increased more than 6 percent in the United States over 2016, the preliminary report shows.

Drug overdose deaths in the United States reached 72,000 in 2017, hitting a record high and surpassing the highest annual death totals from HIV, vehicle crashes and guns, according to latest provisional estimates released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). While carfentanil is the most commonly detected analog, the Drug Enforcement Agency has also noted other analogs, furanylfentanyl, acrylfentanyl and acetylfentanyl, present in overdose reports and deaths. A year ago the Trump administration declared the epidemic a "public health emergency" but allocated no new funding for states to address the issue. Food and Drug Administration issued a new warning to heath providers that more opioid addicts appear to be trying to obtain prescription narcotics in a new way - with their pets. It's 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine. But pain patients and pain advocacy groups have lamented that the opioid epidemic being declared a national emergency has made it more hard to obtain the drugs they legitimately need to manage their severe pain, making the issue complicated.

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