Fentanyl Surpasses Heroin in Drug Overdose Deaths

The first governmental account of nationwide drug overdose deaths to cover all of 2016 was recently released. Data from this account shows that overdose deaths are growing at a much faster rate than previously thought. According to data provided by the National Center for Health Statistics, drug overdoses killed about 64,000 people in the United States last year. That’s 22 percent more than the 52,404 overdose deaths recorded in 2015. These rapid increases in death rates show our country has a severe drug epidemic. Now is the time to take notice of the issue and start taking action. 

Leading Cause of Death

It’s expected that drug overdoses will remain the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. This is mainly due to the increase in the use of synthetic opioids. The drug fentanyl is the main culprit which has continually pushed the overdose death count higher. Deaths involving fentanyl have doubled from 2015 to 2016. In addition to this, there has been an increase in deaths caused by cocaine and methamphetamine overdoses. These drugs are causing an epidemic of drug overdoses that are currently killing people at a faster rate than the HIV epidemic did at its peak.

The Role of Fentanyl in the Rising Death Count

Many states have seen the growing count of drug overdose deaths mainly because of an increase in fentanyl use. Look at the chart below to clearly see the extent of the fentanyl’s role in the rising death count from drug overdoses. Deaths from synthetic opioids, fentanyl, in particular, have doubled in one year. However, these deaths have risen at a catastrophic rate within the past three years from 3,000 to over 20,000. To put this into perspective, overdose deaths from the drug fentanyl are up by 540% in three years.

The Effect on Local Communities

Local communities are completely overwhelmed by the sudden upheaval of fentanyl deaths and widespread opioid epidemic. State resources are limited and many communities have strained budgets due to the additional needs warranted from this epidemic. Budgets for these communities filter into the need for more police care, medical care, and even foster care to handle the rise in neglected children. Many people believe the opioid epidemic is solely a problem in rural areas. Yet, the data shows that fentanyl and other opioids equally affect rural and urban areas. In the chart below the data shows the death rate in Maryland (a more urban state) surpassing Kentucky, Delaware, and Maine.

Florida is Top 5 in Drug Overdose Deaths

Florida is another state high up on the list for drug overdose deaths. As of 2016 Florida is within the top 5 states with the highest overdose death rates. This was a steep rise in drug overdose deaths in Florida, a state that barely made the top 10 in 2015. It’s a dire time for those opioid addicts and the only way to stop this increase in deaths is to help these addicts get the help they need. The goal of Meridian Treatment Solutions is to change a person’s lifestyle in the healthiest way possible. We hope to be a part of the decrease in drug overdose deaths. Please check out our drug rehab services to help out you or your loved one today.

The National Center for Health Statistics provided all of the provisional data in this article after an influx of requests from government officials for more information on this epidemic.

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