According to data gathered from across the country by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the drug-induced death rates have spiked in the past five years by as much as 33 percent. In some states, deaths caused by either opioid overdose or prescription medicine abuse have increased by nearly 200 percent.
Among the states who recorded the biggest jumps, Hew Hampshire registered a 191 percent increase in drug-related deaths while Connecticut, North Dakota, Maine, and Massachusetts had their death rates jump by slightly over 100 percent.
The head of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden expressed his concerns with the new findings via an official statement.
“Too many Americans are feeling the devastation of the opioid crisis”, said Dr. Frieden.
At the same time, he calls authorities to action in order to stop the overdose epidemic in its tracks. Hence, he calls for more effective treatments for chronic pains without the use of addictive medicine, better law enforcement strategies to be set in place, in order to prevent opioids from flooding the markets, and government programs that could reduce the availability of synthetic and illicit drugs altogether.
A previous survey showed that in 2015 alone, as many as 52,000 people have succumbed to drug overdoses. Nearly two-thirds of the cases involved illegal opioids or prescription medicine. Deaths rates caused by synthetic opioids also rose in the past years, with fentanyl responsible for claiming approximately 9,600 lives. Even though Vicodin and Oxycontin misuse had the smallest increase, nearly 17,500 people have died in recent years from abusing these medicine.
The study shows that in 2016, illicit use of fentanyl caused the New York drug-induced death rates to rise by 135 percent, while Illinois saw a 120 percent increase, and Connecticut 125 percent. Heroin was also responsible for a 57 percent increase in drug-related deaths in South Carolina, a 43 percent rise in Tennessee, and a 46 percent increase in North Carolina. However, these are only a few examples of several states where drug overdoses claimed most lives. When it comes to opioid overdoses, 28 other states saw a significant 16 percent jump in death rates from fentanyl and synthetic opioids. At the same time, 11 more states have suffered massive losses from heroin-induced deaths.
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