The number of deaths related to Fentanyl has more than doubled in the United States in just one year. Fentanyl is an ultra-powerful opioid painkiller approximately 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. And it’s killing people by the handfuls.
In 2014, 4200 individuals in the United Stated died from a fentanyl overdose compared to the 1905 people who died in 2013. This is a calculated increase from 6 deaths per every million people to 13, all in a single year.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a report about a new method used to examine drug overdose related deaths in the US. Traditionally, specific codes are issued and placed on death certificates by government researchers to analyze the cause of death. However, the same code may be used to classify deaths from multiple drugs and thus, the analysis isn’t as specific as the new method.
This new method analyzes the actual text on death certificates which includes notes provided by the coroner or medical examiner. This way, specific drugs can be identified, making it easier to create accurate statistics
Researchers using this new method have identified the top 10 drugs involved in drug overdose related deaths in the US from 2010 to 2014. In 2010 and 2011, the top drug was oxycodone and in 2012 to 2014, it was heroin. Cocaine perpetually ranked second or third among drugs responsible for overdose related deaths during the 5 year period.
Fentanyl also moved up the ranks from the 9th spot in drug overdose deaths in 2015 to the 5th spot in 2014. Furthermore, the number of heroin related deaths have tripled in a 5 year period, from 3,030 deaths in 2010 to 10,863 deaths in 2014.
According to a researcher’s report, many drug overdose victims have taken multiple drugs. In 2014, 36,667 died from an overdose. At least one specific drug was mentioned on the death certificate. 48 percent of the victims referenced more than one drug. Nearly 25 percent mentioned 2 drugs, 12 percent mentioned three drugs, 6 percent mentioned four and 5 percent mentioned five or more.
A new report, similar to one released by the CDC on Friday, Dec. 16th 2016 looked at drug overdose related deaths from 2014 to 2015 in the United States, but used the traditional cause-of-death codes. This report showed that death rates for synthetic opioids (not including methadone) increased 72 percent. This included the drugs Tramadol and Fentanyl. Heroin overdose related deaths also increased 20 percent during the same time period.
So why are death rates increasing each year? Reports suggest that the death rate from opioid overdose will continue to increase in 2017, likely because of the increased number of users and the quantity of powerful synthetics (like fentanyl, carfentanil, etc.) that are being cut with heroin. We can only hope that by raising awareness and helping those who are ready for addiction treatment that the number will eventually decline.
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Written and Published by William Charles- Owner and Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)
CEO/Owner/Founder, Modern Image, LLC
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