FRANKLYWNOW - WEB-1711

WEB-1711

Published: Dec 21, 2017 12:39 PM Updated:
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Silver Spring, Maryland -

 

 

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More than 63,600 lives were lost to drug overdose in 2016, the most lethal year yet of the drug overdose epidemic, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Most of those deaths involved opioids, a family of painkillers including illicit heroin and fentanyl as well as legally prescribed medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. In 2016 alone, 42,249 US drug fatalities --
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66% of the total -- involved opioids, the report says. That's over a thousand more than the 41,070 Americans who die from breast cancer every year.
 
Much of the increase was driven by the rise in illicit synthetic opioids like fentanyl and tramadol. The rate of deadly overdoses from synthetic opioids other than methadone has skyrocketed an average of 88% each year since 2013; it more than doubled in 2016 to 19,413, from 9,580 in 2015.
Heroin also continues to be a problem, the report says. Since 2014, the rate of heroin overdose deaths has jumped an average of 19% each year.
 
 
 
 
US life expectancy drops for second year in a row
 
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The opioid crisis has raised significant awareness of prescription painkillers. Between 1999 and 2009, the rate of overdoses from such drugs rose 13% annually, but the increase has since slowed to 3% per year.
In 2009, prescription narcotics were involved in 26% of all fatal drug overdoses, while heroin was involved in 9% and synthetics were involved in just 8%. By comparison, in 2016, prescription drugs were involved in 23% of all deadly overdoses. But heroin is now implicated in about a quarter of all drug fatalities, and synthetic opioids play a role in nearly a third.
These increases have contributed to a shortening of the US life expectancy for a second year in a row.
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