Deaths from drug overdose reached record high levels in 2014 with 47,055 people dying from drug overdoses in America last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest report.
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The total number of deaths linked to drug overdose has doubled since 2000 and has increased 14% from 2013 to 2014. Opioids primarily prescribed pain relievers and heroin are the major drivers of overdose deaths as these drugs are involved in 28,647 deaths in 2014, or accounts for 61% of overall drug overdose deaths. The rate of opioid overdose deaths has tripled since 2000.
“More persons died from drug overdoses in United States in 2014 than during any previous year on record.” CDC report reads. “In 2014, there were approximately one and a half times more drug overdose deaths in the United States than deaths from motor vehicles crashes.”
People from all ethnic groups, ages and sexes were affected by drug overdose across the nation but the states which experienced significant increase in the rate of drug overdose deaths from 2013 to 2014 include Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Natural and semi synthetic opioids which include common pain relievers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone caused more deaths than any other opioid type in 2014. 80% of deaths last year were due to synthetic opioids. Deaths from heroin overdoses increased 26%.
"These findings indicate that the opioid overdose epidemic is worsening. There is a need for continued action to prevent opioid abuse, dependence and death improve treatment capacity for opioid use disorders and reduce the supply of illicit opioids, particularly heroin and illicit fentanyl.” Authors wrote in report.
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“To reverse the epidemic of opioid drug overdose deaths and prevent opioid related morbidity, efforts to improve safer prescribing of prescription opioids must be intensified.”