A new government report finds 25 percent of drug overdose deaths in 2015 involved heroin, triple the percentage in 2010.
The National Center for Health Statistics found the percentage of overdose deaths from prescription opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone decreased to 24 percent in 2015, from 29 percent in 2010, Reuters reports.
Cocaine was associated with 13 percent of overdose deaths in 2015, up from 11 percent in 2010.
The four states with the highest drug overdose deaths in 2015 were West Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky and Ohio. Overdose death rates increased for all groups, but the sharpest increase was among those ages 55 to 64.
President-Elect Donald Trump, who has pledged to solve the nation’s opioid crisis, faces significant hurdles in achieving that campaign promise, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Much of the work of preventing drug overdose deaths is done at the local level, the article notes.
Newer and deadlier versions of opioids are continually appearing. In addition, complex regulatory changes are often needed to rework federal drug policies.
Trump has vowed to dismantle parts of the Affordable Care Act, which requires millions of subsidized health plans to cover treatment for substance use and mental health disorders.
He has vowed to prosecute illegal drug traffickers more aggressively, and to close shipping loopholes that he says allow the Chinese to mail synthetic fentanyl into the country. He also called for reducing the amounts of legal prescription opioids that can be manufactured and sold in the United States, and increasing access to naloxone for first responders...
The increasing number of drug overdose deaths has led to a rise in the number of organ donations, according to The New York Times.
In New England, which has seen a surge of drug overdose deaths, there have been organ donations this year from 69 people who died of an overdose.
This accounts for 27 percent of all donations in the region. In 2010, 4 percent of donors in New England died of drug overdoses.
More than 970 people who died of drug overdoses nationwide have donated organs so far this year.
This accounts for about 12 percent of total donations. In 2010, about 4 percent of U.S. organ donations came from people who died of drug overdoses.
Dr. David Klassen, Chief Medical Officer for the United Network for Organ Sharing, which administers the nation’s organ procurement network, told the newspaper that these donors tend to be younger and healthier than...
Medical examiners and coroners around the nation are struggling to deal with the large number of drug overdose deaths, the Associated Press reports.
The surge in overdose deaths is leading to a shortage of places to store bodies, and long waits for autopsies and toxicology testing, the article notes. The coroner’s office in Hamilton County in Cincinnati has a 100-day backlog of DNA testing for police drug investigations, in large part due to the rise in overdose deaths. Medical examiners in Connecticut and Wisconsin have had to find new places to store bodies when their storage area nears capacity.
Overdose deaths have added to existing problems in medical examiner and coroner offices, which include inadequate facilities, budget woes and a shortage of forensic pathologists who are qualified to perform autopsies. Some offices risk losing accreditation because their pathologists are likely to perform more than 325 autopsies a year—the limit set by...