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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Amount of Opioids Prescribed Declined from 2010-2015, But Remains High

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There was an overall decline in the amount of opioids prescribed in the United States between 2010 and 2015, but the quantity of prescriptions is still extremely high, according to a new government report. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the amount of opioids prescribed was three times higher in 2015 than in 1999, The New York Times reports. The amount of opioids prescribed varies county by county, the CDC found. Half of U.S. counties have seen a decrease in the amount of opioids prescribed from 2010 to 2015. The highest prescribing counties still dispense six times more opioids than the lowest prescribing counties. Far more opioids are prescribed per capita in parts of Maine, Nevada and Tennessee than in most of Iowa, Minnesota and Texas.
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CDC Awards $12 Million to Help States Fight Opioid Overdose Epidemic

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Support will strengthen state efforts to prevent and track opioid overdoses The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be awarding more than $12 million to 23 states and the District of Columbia to support their responses to the opioid overdose epidemic. The funds will be used to strengthen prevention efforts and better track of opioid-related overdoses. CDC expects to announce additional funding awards for state opioid overdose prevention programs later in the summer. Increased funding for opioids in the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill is allowing CDC to support all states that have applied for funding through the Enhanced State Surveillance of Opioid-Involved Morbidi ty and Mortality and Mortality (ESOOS) program and the Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States (PfS) program. Under the ESOOS program, $7.5 million will go to 20 additional states and the District of Columbia to better track and prevent opioid-involved nonfatal and...
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CDC Report Evaluates Effective Smoking Cessation Methods

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Many smokers become addicted to nicotine, a drug that is naturally found in tobacco. More people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol. Quitting smoking is difficult and oftentimes requires several attempts. People who stop smoking often revert back to smoking because of withdrawal symptoms such as feeling irritable, angry or anxious, having trouble thinking, craving tobacco products, feeling hungrier than usual. Federal health regulators continue to de-emphasize electronic cigarettes and vaporizers as smoking-cessation options, even as they acknowledge increased use of the product. The CDC released a 26-month survey of 15,943 adult cigarette smokers, published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, analyzing the most population smoking cessation techniques. The study determined that 74.7 percent of survey participants used multiple methods during their...
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CDC Reports Large Jump in Seized Drugs That Test Positive for Fentanyl

CDC Reports Large Jump in Seized Drugs That Test Positive for Fentanyl
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting a 426 percent increase in seized drugs that tested positive for fentanyl between 2013 and 2014, according to NPR . The number of deaths involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids increased 79 percent during that period. The CDC analyzed data from 27 states, and found a strong link between increases in synthetic opioid deaths and seized fentanyl products, but not with changes in fentanyl prescribing. The findings suggest that illegally made fentanyl is behind the increase in overdoses, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Fentanyl is prescribed to treat severe pain. The fentanyl that is being mixed with heroin and sold on the streets is being illicitly manufactured, the CDC noted.
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CDC Reports Sharp Increases in Fentanyl-Involved Overdose Deaths

CDC Reports Sharp Increases in Fentanyl-Involved Overdose Deaths
CDC reports that law enforcement fentanyl encounters increased from less than 1,000 from 2010 to 2012 to nearly 14,000 in 2015. Synthetic-opioid involved deaths increased nearly 80% from 2013 to 2014. From 2013 to 2014, law enforcement encounters (drug submitted for analysis) testing positive for fentanyl sharply increased in a growing number of states, according to two new articles published today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report . Synthetic opioid-involved overdose deaths including fentanyl have also increased in multiple states. Recent investigations in Ohio and Florida provide strong evidence that increases in fentanyl deaths do not involve prescription fentanyl but are primarily related to illicitly-made fentanyl. Illicitly-made fentanyl is often mixed with or sold as heroin—with or without the users’ knowledge and increasingly distributed in counterfeit pills. Key findings from 2013 to 2014: Law enforcement fentanyl encounters in the U.S. quadrupled. Synthetic opioid-involved deaths in the U.S. increased by...
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E-Cigarettes the Most Widely Used Tobacco Product Among Teens

E-Cigarettes the Most Widely Used Tobacco Product Among Teens
E-cigarettes are now the most widely used tobacco product among teens, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). E-cigarette use rose among middle school and high school students from 2011 to 2015, the report found. Three million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2015, an increase of 2.5 percent from the previous year. Among high school students, e-cigarette use rose from 1.5 percent to 16 percent, according to the report. Among middle school students, e-cigarette use increased from 0.6 percent to 5.3 percent during that period. Overall, use of tobacco products by teens has not fallen since 2011, HealthDay reports. One-fourth of high school students use tobacco products. “E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, and use continues to climb,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a news release. “No form of youth tobacco use is safe....
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CDC Releases Guidelines for Doctors Designed to Reduce Opioid Prescribing

CDC Releases Guidelines for Doctors Designed to Reduce Opioid Prescribing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines Tuesday that recommend primary care providers avoid prescribing opioid painkillers for patients with chronic pain, according to USA Today . The risks from opioids greatly outweigh the benefits for most people, the CDC says. Primary care providers write nearly half of all opioid prescriptions, according to the CDC. The new guidelines are designed for primary care doctors who treat adult patients for chronic pain in outpatient settings. They are not meant for guiding treatment of patients in active cancer treatment, palliative care, or end-of-life care, the agency said. Doctors who determine that opioid painkillers are needed should prescribe the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time, the guidelines state. “More than 40 Americans die each day from prescription opioid overdoses, we must act now,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a news release. “Overprescribing opioids—largely...
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Alcohol-Related Deaths Highest In 35 Years

Alcohol-Related Deaths Highest In 35 Years
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC,) there were 30,000 American deaths from alcohol-induced causes in 2014. The CDC report notes that the deaths included alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis, liver damage primarily caused by drinking. In an article published by Medical Daily, that information translates to 9.6 deaths from alcohol-induced causes per 100,000 people, a figure that has risen 37 percent since 2002. These alarming numbers don’t even include deaths from drunk driving, and other accidents or homicides committed under the influence of alcohol. According to Philip J. Cook, a Duke University professor who studies alcohol consumption patterns, when you factor in deaths directly or indirectly caused by alcohol would cause the number of annual deaths to rise to around 90,000. Per-capita alcohol consumption has been rising nationally since the late 1990s. The number of Americans who drink at least once per month rose by a small but...
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More Needle Exchange Programs Needed in Rural and Suburban Areas

More Needle Exchange Programs Needed in Rural and Suburban Areas
More needle exchange programs are needed for people who inject drugs in rural and suburban areas, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Addiction rates are rising in non-urban areas. Giving new, sterile needles and syringes to people who inject drugs in exchange for a used one reduces their risk of contracting or spreading HIV and hepatitis C, HealthDay reports. The study found 69 percent of needle exchange programs in the United States are located in cities. Only 20 percent are in rural areas and 9 percent are in suburban areas. Only 37 percent of programs in rural areas offer the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, compared with 61 of urban programs. “Syringe service programs (SSPs) have been very effective in reducing HIV transmission in the U.S. and throughout the world,” study author Don Des Jarlais of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount...
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