1 in 4 fatal drug overdoses linked to heroin in 2015 — CDC

Chart showing that it isn’t just middle-aged Americans dying from drug overdoses. It’s both older and younger Americans too

1 in 4 fatal drug overdoses linked to heroin in 2015 — CDC

MA ranks among the worst states in the nation for drug overdose deaths, part of a cluster in the Northeast where opioids and other narcotics have spiked OD numbers, federal disease watchdogs say. In 1999, just 6% of all overdoses were related to the drug.

Alexander pointed out that the data highlighted how many people the drugs have impacted from across various age groups. By 2015, that proportion had jumped to 25%.

Those states also have been identified as having high rates of death from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, Vuolo added. Similarly, the percentage of deaths caused by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids (with the exception of methadone) climbed from 8 percent to 18 percent from 2010 to 2015.

The national death toll is highest among non-Hispanic whites, with overdoses causing 21.1 deaths per 100,000 people. Deaths increased in all age groups, with adults aged 45 to 54 having the highest drug overdose death rate.

Other opioids - both synthetic and natural - such as oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) accounted for another 24 percent of overdose deaths in 2015, down from 29 percent in 2010.

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. However, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of Brandeis University's Opioid Policy Research Center, said that switching is only part of the story.

In an attempt to stem the tide of opioid-involved deaths, state and federal governments have implemented new laws and regulations directed at the epidemic.

Later this month, the Governor of New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie, initiated a series of limitation to prescribed opioids in the state, as prescriptions are now valid for up to five days tops.

The DEA has issued a list of drugs that are fentanyl variations as they consider them as "no now accepted for medical use and a high potential for abuse". There should also be a focus on screening people for substance use disorders so that people can be guided into treatment, Mooney said.

The National Congress already assigned a federal budget to overcome this problem when it passed the 21st Century Cures Act past year.

However, according to data published by the journal Addiction, Buprenorphine is not working efficiently on defeating opioid dependency.

Opioid use has become a major issue in the country with life expectancy taking a hit.

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