During the year 1999 to 2017, reports published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that more than 700,000 Americans died from drug overdose, wherein 10 percent of them just happened to die in 2017 alone. It was found that the driving force behind this increase is the illegally manufactured fentanyl.
To sum it all, a total of 70,237 drug overdose deaths were recorded in 2017. Opioids were involved in 67.8% or 47,600 of those deaths. Of those opioid-involved overdose deaths, 59.8% of them, or 28,466, were due to synthetic opioids.
The authors wrote in the study that:
“The opioid overdose epidemic continues to worsen and evolve because of the continuing increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids.”
The report, which was published online in the CDC’s MMWR, also reviewed the overdose deaths from 2013-2017. In a statement, the CDC said that the increase was driven by illegally manufactured fentanyl.
“During that time, drug overdose death rates increased in 35 of 50 states and DC, and significant increases in death rates involving synthetic opioids occurred in 15 of 20 states.”
In a separate report from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics it was found that in 2016, fentanyl surpassed heroin as the most commonly used drug in overdose deaths in the US. Moreover, it also shows that in 2017, West Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire were the states with the highest number of synthetic opioid-involved overdose deaths.
However, the study further found that a significant increase in synthetic opioid-involved overdose death rates has been experienced by 23 states and Washington, DC. Fentanyl overdose deaths surged 150% from 2016 to 2017.
Likewise, eight states west of the Mississippi River also experienced a significant increase in synthetic opioid-related deaths. These states were Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
Arizona had the biggest increase, which was 122.2%, followed by North Carolina, which had a 112.9% increase in deaths, and Oregon, which had a 90.9% increase in synthetic opioid overdoses.
The increase in synthetic overdose was seen in both men and women and also in non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic whites, and Hispanics. Among them, blacks had the largest relative change, which was 25.2%. The largest absolute rate increase was among 25- to 44-year-old men. People age 65 and older had the largest relative change among age groups, which was 17.2% from 2016-17.
The authors of the report said:
“Through 2017, the drug overdose epidemic continues to worsen and evolve, and the involvement of many types of drugs (e.g., opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamine) underscores the urgency to obtain more timely and local data to inform public health and public safety action.”
In America, the problem in drug addiction continues to increase with too little signs of slowing down.