Monday, December 12, 2016

Opiate-overdose deaths were up 13.4% in 2015; heroin deaths surpassed gun homicides

Deaths involving opiates, an increasing problem in rural areas, rose 13.4 percent in 2015, says a report released Thursday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year there were 33,091 deaths involving opiates, up from 28,647 in 2014. Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (typically, fentanyl that was illicitly manufactured), and not from medications containing fentanyl, rose 73 percent from 5,544 to 9,580. Heroin deaths rose 23 percent from 10,574 to 12,990; and prescription-opiate overdose deaths, excluding illicit fentanyl, rose 4 percent from 16,941 to 17,536. Some deaths involved illicit opioids and prescription opioids. (Washington Post graphic: Rise in opiate deaths)
"For the first time since at least the late 1990s, there were more deaths due to heroin than to traditional opioid painkillers, like hydrocodone and oxycodone," Christopher Ingraham reports for The Washington Post. "In a grim milestone, more people died from heroin-related causes than from gun homicides in 2015. As recently as 2007, gun homicides outnumbered heroin deaths by more than 5 to 1." (Post graphic: Heroin deaths have surpassed gun homicides)

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