Drug Overdose Deaths Continue to Climb: CDC

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The rate of drug overdose deaths continues to increase in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The death rate for drug overdoses reached 19.9 cases per 100,000 people last summer, compared with 16.7 per 100,000 the previous summer, HealthDay reports. The CDC also found an increase in drug overdose deaths for the 12-month period ending in September 2016, compared with the same period a year before—18.5 overdose deaths per 100,000, up from 16.1 deaths per 100,000. Of the 52,404 overdose deaths in 2015, the CDC found 33,091 involved opioids. Prescription or synthetic opioid pain relievers were involved in more than two-thirds of opioid-related overdose deaths.
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Alcohol-Related Deaths are Rising. Will New State Rules Help?

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The reduction in underage drinking and drunken driving accidents among young people is a great public health achievement in the United States. But data suggest that among people who are middle age, another problem involving excess drinking has been quietly brewing, as an alarming number of Americans are dying younger than The rise was driven by drug overdoses and suicides, but also by alcohol poisoning, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. A 2015 study found that the trend began among people ages 45 to 54 in 1999 and continued through 2013, resulting in an increase of 134 deaths per 100,000 people. When it comes to tackling alcohol misuse in middle age, the route for public health strategists has been unclear. Part of the dilemma is that, unlike opioids such as heroin, alcohol is a legal product that studies suggest can contribute to better heart health. Calls for restricting access to alcohol...
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The Opioid Epidemic May Be Even Deadlier Than We Think

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The opioid epidemic has led to the deadliest drug crisis in US history – even deadlier than the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s. Drug overdoses now cause more deaths than gun violence and car crashes. They even caused more deaths in 2015 than HIV/AIDS did at the height of the epidemic in 1995. A new study suggests that we may be underestimating the death toll of the opioid epidemic and current drug crisis. The study, conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), looked at 1,676 deaths in Minnesota’s Unexplained Death surveillance system (UNEX) from 2006 – 2015. The system is meant to refer cases with no clear cause of death to further testing and analysis. In total, 59 of the UNEX deaths, or about 3.5 percent, were linked to opioids. But more than half of these opioid-linked deaths didn’t show up in Minnesota’s...
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Drug Overdoses in Suburban Areas Leads to Many Premature Deaths

Drug Overdoses in Suburban Areas Leads to Many Premature Deaths
A surge in drug overdoses in suburban areas is largely responsible for a rise in premature deaths among adults ages 25-44 in 2015, according to a new report. The findings come from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which compared counties within each state on more than 30 health-influencing factors such as education, jobs, and housing. Drug deaths are also increasing among 15- to 24-year-olds, but almost three times as many people in this age group die by homicide, suicide or in motor vehicle crashes, USA Today reports. A decade ago, suburbs had the lowest rate of premature deaths due to drug overdoses, but now they have the highest, the researchers said. “Smaller metro and rural counties also have higher rates of premature death due to drug overdoses,” the researchers noted in a news release.
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Rise in Drug Overdoses Contributes to Increase in Premature Deaths Among Whites

Rise in Drug Overdoses Contributes to Increase in Premature Deaths Among Whites
A new study finds premature death rates in the United States have risen among whites and American Indians/Alaskan Natives. A significant jump in drug overdoses is the primary reason for the increase, HealthDay reports. The study, published in The Lancet , also found increases in suicides and liver disease contributed to the increase in premature deaths among these groups. Researchers studied death certificate data from 1999 to 2014. They found death rates increased as much as 5 percent annually for 25- to 30-year-old whites and American Indians/Alaska Natives. In a news release, lead author Meredith Shiels said, “The results of our study suggest that in addition to continued efforts against cancer, heart disease and HIV, there is an urgent need for aggressive actions targeting emerging causes of death, namely drug overdoses, suicide and liver disease.”
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K2 Overdoses in Downtown St. Louis

K2 Overdoses in Downtown St. Louis
Almost two dozen people were treated for synthetic drug overdoses in downtown St. Louis recently, KTVI reports. Most of the overdoses were linked to K2. “One of the challenges in treating these overdoses with the synthetic is first of all, the Narcan we use on regular heroin or opioid-based drugs does not work,” St. Louis Fire Department Captain Garon Mosby said. He noted many of the overdose victims were homeless. “One of the challenges for our medics upon arriving is determining that what they are treating is indeed a synthetic overdose,” he noted. “A lot of times the patient will have a seizure. We respond to seizures, but it could be induced by this synthetic drug. We’re treating higher body temperatures, hyperthermia is very common. And the patients seem to be very combative.”
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Fatal Drug Overdoses Play a Role in Rise in Accidental Deaths

Fatal Drug Overdoses Play a Role in Rise in Accidental Deaths
The rate of accidental deaths in the United States is rising, fueled in part by the opioid painkiller and heroin epidemic, according to a new report by the National Safety Council. The report found poisonings, largely from drug overdoses and prescription opioids, are the leading cause of preventable death among adults ages 25 to 64. More than 136,000 people died accidentally in the United States in 2014, the highest number ever recorded, NPR reports. The accidental death rate increased 4.2 percent from the previous year and 57 percent since 1992. More than 42,000 people died from overdose and accidental poisoning in 2014—quadruple the number of poisoning deaths in 1998. In contrast, motor vehicle crashes killed 35,398 in 2014—22 percent fewer than a decade ago. In 1980, more than 53,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Deaths from falls, such as slipping on a kitchen or bathroom floor, also have increased...
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Increase in Drug Overdoses Contributes to Rising U.S. Death Rate

Increase in Drug Overdoses Contributes to Rising U.S. Death Rate
A rise in drug overdoses contributed to the increasing U.S. death rate last year, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The death rate increased for the first time in a decade, The New York Time s reports. The overall death rate increased to 729.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015, up from 723.2 in 2014. The CDC found the death rate for drug overdoses increased to 15.2 per 100,000 people in the second quarter of 2015, compared with 14.1 in the second quarter the previous year. The rate for unintentional injuries, which include drug overdoses and car accidents, increased to 42 per 100,000 in the third quarter last year, up from 39.9 in the same quarter the previous year. More people also died from suicide and Alzheimer’s disease last year, the report found. The findings are preliminary, and are not broken down...
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Drug Overdoses Among Top Three Causes of Injury Deaths in U.S.

Drug Overdoses Among Top Three Causes of Injury Deaths in U.S.
Guns, drug overdoses and motor vehicle crashes are the top three causes of injury-related death in the United States, according to a new study. Researchers say those causes of injury contribute to Americans’ shorter life expectancy compared with people in 12 other wealthy countries. The average American will die as much as two years sooner than people living in Western Europe or Japan, the study found. More than 100,000 Americans die each year from motor vehicle traffic crashes, firearm-related injuries, and drug poisonings, the researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics found men in Western Europe and Japan had a life expectancy advantage of 2.2 years over American men and women. The top three injury causes of death accounted for 1.02 years of the life expectancy gap among men. Firearm-related injuries accounted for 21 percent of the gap,...
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Drug Overdose Deaths Increased in Almost Every U.S. County

Drug Overdose Deaths Increased in Almost Every U.S. County
Drug overdose deaths have increased in almost every U.S. county, The New York Times reports. Some of the biggest concentrations of overdose are in Appalachia and the Southwest. The increase is largely driven by addiction to prescription opioids and heroin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found 47,055 people died from drug overdoses. The drug overdose death rate is rising much faster than the rate of other causes of death, the article notes. Overdose death rates are rising faster in rural areas than in large metropolitan areas, which historically have had higher rates. Opioids were involved in more than 61 percent of deaths from overdoses in 2014. Heroin-related deaths have more than tripled since 2010. They are currently double the rate of cocaine-related deaths. Recently, The New York Times reported the rising death rate of young white adults in the United States is being driven by drug overdoses....
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