Declaring this nation’s problem with opioids an epidemic has not been enough to turn the tide on drug overdose deaths. According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of deaths related to opioid use is continuing to rise in this country, and it is affecting Americans from all backgrounds and geographic areas.
The CDC Reports on Opioid Overdose Deaths
On March 29, the CDC released its latest report on U.S. overdose deaths. The data reveals that 63,632 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses in 2016 and prescription painkillers or illicit opioids were involved nearly two-thirds of those deaths (66%).
Deaths from overdose went up across all types of drugs for both men and women, for all ethnicities and races, and across all geographic areas. Overall, drug overdose deaths went up 21.5 percent in 2016. But certain kinds of opioids have become more popular. For example, the rate of deaths linked to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl nearly doubled.
While all groups and areas showed increases, some were higher than others. Between 2015 and 2016, the overdose death rate among non-Hispanic blacks increased 56.1 percent, the largest increase among any group. The second largest was among Asians and Pacific Islanders, with a 36.4 percent increase, followed by a 32.6 percent increase for Latinos.
The highest adjusted death rate in the nation was found in West Virginia, where 43.4 out of every 100,000 residents died of an opioid drug overdose in 2016. Other states with high opioid overdose death rates include New Hampshire (35.8), Ohio (32.9), the District of Columbia (30), Maryland (29.7), and Massachusetts (29.7). The lowest overdose death rate in the nation was in Texas (4.9).
Current Wave of Overdose Deaths Tied to Fentanyl
According to CDC researchers, there have been three major “waves” opioid overdose deaths across the period of this epidemic. In the 1990s, the first wave occurred when people were dying from prescription painkiller overdoses. The second wave began in 2010 as there was a significant jump in the number of heroin overdose deaths.
The current wave goes back to 2013 when synthetic opioids such as fentanyl began flooding the market. By 2016, these dangerous drugs were responsible for 45.9 percent of all opioid overdose deaths. The CDC also reports that illicitly manufactured fentanyl, referred to as “IMF,” is now being mixed with counterfeit heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepine and other opioid pills, which is likely contributing to the spike in overdose deaths.
Where You Can Find Addiction Treatment for Opioid Abuse
If you are struggling with opioid addiction, you may feel as if there is no hope for recovery. This simply is not the case, and your life may be at stake. Recovery is possible with the help of an addiction treatment program that provides compassionate and comprehensive treatment solutions for this serious and deadly disease.