Saturday, September 2, 2017

US Fentanyl Deaths Up 540% in Three Years

Drug overdoses killed roughly 64,000 people in the United States last year. It’s a rise of more than 22 percent over the 52,404 drug deaths recorded the previous year. Drug overdoses will remain the leading cause of death for Americans under 50, as synthetic opioids — primarily fentanyl and its analogues — continue to push the death count higher.

Drug deaths involving fentanyl more than doubled from 2015 to 2016, accompanied by an upturn in deaths involving cocaine and methamphetamines. Together they add up to an epidemic of drug overdoses that is killing people at a faster rate than the H.I.V. epidemic at its peak.

Deaths involving synthetic opioids, mostly fentanyls, have risen to more than 20,000 from 3,000 in just three years. At the same time, there has been a resurgence in cocaine and methamphetamine deaths.

Reports from state health departments and county coroners and medical examiners suggest that the overdose epidemic has continued to worsen in 2017. Steepest rises were in Delaware, Florida and Maryland.