25% of all overdoses are from heroin

Posted February 26, 2017

The National Center for Health Statistics said there were more than 52,000 overdose deaths in the U.S.in 2015.

The House gave unanimous first-round approval to the bill Thursday. While opioid abuse runs rampant, it's a nonprescription narcotic-heroin-that remains a top killer in the U.S. Lakin is a physician who introduced the bill in committee. From 2000 to 2015, 500,000 people died across the nation as a result of the overdose epidemic. Then, the rate sped up again, rising by 9 percent per year from 2013 to 2015. From 1999 to 2015, the rate of drug overdose deaths in this age group increased from about 4 deaths per 100,000 people to about 22 deaths per 100,000 people.

While the number of heroin-related deaths quadrupled from 2010 to 2015, the percentage share of all overdose deaths that were related to heroin tripled, from 8 percent to 25 percent. However, only five years later that number rose more than two times to reach the 18 percent mark.

In 2010, heroin was involved in 8% of USA drug overdose deaths, a study by the Atlanta-based center said. In 2010, opioid-related drug overdoses deaths only represented 8 percent of registered cases.

Researchers Holly Hedegaard, with the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Office of Analysis and Epidemiology, and Margaret Warner and Arialdi M. Miniño, with the NCHS Division of Vital Statistics compiled statistics that show the rate of US drug overdose deaths more than doubled over a 16-year period, increasing from about 6 deaths per 100,000 people in 1999 to 16 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015, according to the CDC.

In 2010, 29% of fatal overdoses involved so-called "natural" and "semisynthetic" opioids (morphine, oxycodone), while only about 12% involved methadone, a "synthetic" opioid.

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When looking at overdoses overall, opioid-related deaths represented the majority.

Overdose deaths involving fentanyl and tramadol also increased, according to data from 2015 which is the latest year available. "There's a really good chance the increase involving heroin has to be involved with fentanyl", he said.

Overdose deaths hit middle-aged and white people the hardest, according to USA Today. There are also increases in deaths from cocaine and methamphetamines.

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.

Dr. Larissa Mooney, director of the University of California Los Angeles Addiction Medicine Clinic, also talked about how the study shows the urgency of taking actions regarding opioids.