Drug OD deaths almost tripled since 1999, CDC says

Drug syringe and cooked heroin on spoon

Overall, the rate of fatal overdoses from all drugs has increased more than 2.5 times since 1999, rising from 6.1 deaths per 100,000 people then to 16.3 deaths in 2015, according to the new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Drug overdose deaths increased from 1999 to 2015 in all age groups, but adults aged 45 to 54 had the highest death rate - about 30 fatalities for every 100,000 people. While all age groups saw increases in death, the 55-to-64 group saw the biggest increase, with a five-fold jump since 1999.

The overdose rates in several age groups from 25 to 64-years-olds were more than twice that for younger adults in the 15 to 24 year old range. In 2015, white overdose death rates also almost tripled those of Hispanics and almost double African-Americans.

The four states with the highest age-adjusted drug overdose death rates in 2015 were West Virginia (41.5), New Hampshire (34.3), Kentucky (29.9), and OH (29.9). The percentage of fatal overdoses related to heroin more than tripled from 8 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in 2015. The suicide rate is 13.4 deaths per 100,000 and the rate of deaths from auto accidents is 11.1 deaths per 100,000 people.

The rate at which white people overdosed fatally, the study found, had more than tripled since 1999.

Last year, the CDC introduced new guidelines for prescribing opioid painkillers, with an aim of reducing the risk of addiction and overdose tied to these drugs.

Overdoses increased in all age groups.

Le Pen aide charged in European Parliament jobs probe
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Overdose deaths are so common that they're driving down the average life expectancy for white Americans, said Salsitz, who is with Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. The percentage of overdose deaths from methadone also dropped during this period, decreasing from 12 percent of drug overdose deaths in 2010 to 6 percent in 2015.

The report shows overdose deaths related to opioids are increasing at an "incredible rate", said Dr. Caleb Alexander, a co-director for the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness. "Heroin is part of America's larger drug abuse problem".

Slovis said some illicit synthetic opioids can be 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency, tasked with monitoring and enforcing the country's federal laws on drugs, says heroin seizures increased.

Fentanyl and Carfentanil, which was created to be an elephant tranquilizer, has led in some instances to EMS personnel running out of the opioid antidote Narcan while treating a single patient, he said.

"When you use an elephant tranquilizer on a human, bad things are going to happen", Slovis said, explaining EMS personnel had to double the amount of Narcan they bring with them in the field.

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