Published: Sun, February 26, 2017
Health Care | By Gwendolyn Kim

Heroin overdoses in America more than quadrupled between 2010 and 2015

Heroin overdoses in America more than quadrupled between 2010 and 2015

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Heroin caused more drug overdoses than any other drug. Lakin is a physician who introduced the bill in committee.

The national death toll is highest among non-Hispanic whites, with overdoses causing 21.1 deaths per 100,000 people.

However, the new report details some striking changes in two areas: First, the specific drugs involved in the deaths; and second, the age groups of the people most affected.

The numbers show overdose deaths afflict middle-aged adults and white people the most. Heroin overdose has risen much in the U.S., as a study finds.

Rich Hamburg, executive vice president of Trust for America's Health, connected the high rates of heroin use and subsequent overdoses to the drug's low cost compared with prescription opioids. And the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths among non-Hispanic white Americans was almost 3.5 times the rate in 1999. Fatalities tied to cocaine ticked up slightly, while natural and semisynthetic opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, decreased from 29 percent in 2010 to 24 percent in 2015.

In this issue, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of Brandeis University's Opioid Policy Research Center, states that this shift is only one side of the coin, as since 2010, "overdoses involving heroin has skyrocketed".

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Adults between 45 and 54 years old had the highest death rate from drug overdoses at 30 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015.

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.

Co-author of the study and member of the National Center for Health Statistics, Dr. Holly Hedegaard, noted that 2015 was the year in which more deaths produced by drug overdoses were registered in the history of the United States, as it never exceeded the 50,000 death barrier.

Adults ages 55 to 64 saw the biggest increase in drug overdose deaths over the course of the 16-year study period.

According to the new government data, Appalachia a mountainous eastern region of the United States, including Kentucky, and the so-called Rust Belt states in the north, including OH and MI, are among the hardest hit with heroin addiction.

"There's been a lot of talk about prescription opioids as being part of the current epidemic and we have been focused on prescribing, but that makes prescriptions harder to access", Wakeman said. In the report, only moderate evidence of the association with cannabis and the development of substance dependence and/or substance abuse with alcohol, tobacco, and other illicit drugs was found in people using medical marijuana.

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