Dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths in the U.S.

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Dennis Thompson
Health Day Reporter

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 (HealthDay News)-New government statistics show that drug overdose deaths are skyrocketing in the United States and most deaths are associated with illegal use of prescription painkillers. I have made it clear.

Deaths from drug overdose increased by 23% between 2010 and 2014, with more than 47,000 Americans dying in 2014, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Tuesday. Shows.

However, according to the latest CDC figures, more than 52,000 people died from drug overdose in 2015, of which just over 33,000 (63%) were associated with prescription drugs or illegal opioids.

CDC is a domestic update released on December 16th Weekly morbidity and mortality reportsSince 2000, more than 300,000 Americans have died from opioid overdose.

Heroin continues to be the deadliest drug in the United States, killing about 11,000 people in 2014, according to reports by Margaret Warner and colleagues at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.Their findings are from the agency on December 20th. Vital statistics report..

However, the researchers found that the threat posed by more potent synthetic opioids such as fentanyl increased exponentially as these drugs became more widely used.

In 2015, the mortality rate of all synthetic opioids except methadone increased by 72% and the mortality rate of heroin increased by about 21%, according to the CDC report. And the increase spans all demographic groups, regions, and many states.

Meanwhile, Warner’s team reported that fentanyl mortality more than doubled in a year, increasing from 1,905 in 2013 to 4,200 in 2014.

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said:

“The number of patients who require high levels of naloxone and are extremely difficult to resuscitate is skyrocketing. [a medication that reverses effects of overdose].. Synthetic opiates are often suspected in these patients, “Glatter explained.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid produced primarily in China and is 50 times more potent than heroin, according to Emily Finestein, head of health law and policy at the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse.

People addicted to painkillers such as oxycodone (oxycontin) and morphine are paying more and more attention to street drugs such as heroin, as enforcement limits the availability of prescription opioids, according to Glatters.

However, Feinstein added that heroin has opened the door to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

“Synthetic products are cheaper to make than heroin and are flooding the United States,” she said. “Drug sellers cut heroin with these synthetic drugs because they are cheaper and actually make the drug more powerful. Know that the heroin you are using is cut. Without it, the usual dose would be fatal. “

Warner and colleagues have created a new report based on a new method of using death certificate texts to identify specific drugs involved in death from overdose.

The 10 most deadly drugs in 2014 are: Heroin (23% of deaths from overdose). Cocaine (12.4%); Oxycodone, (11.5%); Alprazolam / Xanax (9%); Fentanyl (8.9%); Morphine (8.5%); Methamphetamine (7.9%); Methadone (7.4%); Hydrocodone / Vicodone (7%) %); Diazepam / Barium (3.7%).

The dramatic increase in fentanyl mortality between 2013 and 2014 may be due to new methods of analyzing deaths from CDC overdose and increased awareness of synthetic risks. Yes, says Dr. Hershall Kirane. He is the director of addiction services at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.

“I think it captures aspects of what’s happening in the real world, but I’m partly interested in whether it’s part of a more systematic effort to identify fentanyl during autopsy. There is, “said Kirane.

Feinstein pointed out that more emphasis needs to be placed on treating addicts, especially those who survive overdose, through the use of drugs like naloxone (Nalcan).

Medications that help a person survive an overdose of opioids “immediately withdraw you,” Feinstein said. “I feel sick, miserable, terrible, and have a very strong desire. Hospitals are not receiving effective treatment to prevent recurrence, they are just releasing these people,” she said. explained.


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A new report by Warner’s team also highlights the role doctors play in this ongoing epidemic, Glatter said.

“We need to look away from the kneeling reaction of using opiates to treat pain,” he said. “We are responsible for writing these prescriptions, so we need to embrace change. We have to look for other solutions.”

The new findings also highlight the somewhat overshadowed threat of opioids, the number of deaths caused by benzodiazepines such as Xanax and barium, Kirane said.

“In my eyes, it’s still a somewhat quiet epidemic in our country,” Kirane said. “Although the role of opioids is very important, benzodiazepine prescriptions are still largely unrestricted in our country.”

In investigating the regional impact of overdose mortality in 28 states of the United States from 2014 to 2015 MMWR Studies show that the three states with the highest increases in mortality from synthetic opioids other than methadone were New York, Connecticut, and Illinois. The three states with the highest growth rates for heroine mortality were South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee, while Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, and West Virginia had the highest total growth rates for heroine mortality. did.

Copyright © 2016 Health Day. all rights reserved.

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Source: Robert Glatter, MD, Emergency Doctor, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City. Emily Feinstein, JD, National Center for Health Law and Policy, Addiction and Substance Abuse. Harshal Kirane, MD, Director, Addiction Services, Staten Island University Hospital, New York City. December 20, 2016, Vital statistics report, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; December 16, 2016, Weekly morbidity and mortality reports

Dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths in the U.S.

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