Friday, 22 March, 2019

Overdose Deaths Involving Fentanyl Doubled Every Year From 2013 to 2016

Seized packets of fentanyl are shown in this undated file Fentanyl Named Deadliest Drug in America by CDC Seized packets of fentanyl are shown in this undated file
Anna Jefferson | 15 December, 2018, 03:35

The latest numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics say that the rate of drug overdoses involving the synthetic opioid skyrocketed by about 113% each year from 2013 through 2016.

Drug overdose deaths involving the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl are on the rise, and the number of fentanyl-related deaths roughly doubled each year from 2013 through 2016, according to new federal data. In 2016, the street drugs fentanyl, heroin and cocaine were most frequently recorded in unintentional fatal overdoses, while prescription and over-the-counter medicines, including oxycodone, diphenhydramine, hydrocodone and alprazolam, were most frequently recorded in deaths by suicide.

Between 2011 and 2016, the rate of deaths involving heroin and methamphetamine more than tripled, the study authors noted.

Overdose deaths from methadone decreased by 10 percent per year from 2011 to 2014, according to the report.

Most reports on drug overdose deaths only determine what class of drugs were involved.

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From 2013 to 2016, overdose deaths involving fentanyl and other forms of fentanyl doubled each year, from less than 1 per 100,000 in 2013 to almost 6 per 100,000 in 2016. Oxycodone, which was the most common drug cited in fatal overdoses in 2011, was eclipsed by heroin from 2012 to 2015, and then fentanyl in 2016.

Fentanyl was mentioned in about 1,600 US death certificates in both 2011 and 2012, according to the NCHS' review. "A lot of the deaths that mention fentanyl also mention heroin, and a lot of the deaths that mention cocaine also mention fentanyl", she explained.

The findings are reflected in the most recent overdose death statistics from Trumbull County. Such situations can easily lead to overdose. Many fatalities also involved multiple drugs, the report says.

The report also highlights the importance for accurate reporting in the text of death certificates. Accordingly, they applied an adjustment factor taking into account better reporting of specific drugs involved.

Fentanyl is involved in so many overdoses because of its high potency; it is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine, and even a small amount can be lethal.

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