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CDC: Overdose Deaths Up Across Drug Categories in 2015 to 2016

Of 63,632 drug overdose deaths in 2016, 66.4 percent involved an opioid

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TUESDAY, April 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- From 2015 to 2016, there were increases in deaths across all drug categories examined, with 63,632 drug overdose deaths in 2016, according to research published in the March 30 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Puja Seth, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined age-adjusted deaths for overdoses involving all opioids, opioid subcategories, cocaine, and psychostimulants with abuse potential by demographics, urbanization levels, and in 31 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.).

The researchers identified 63,632 drug overdose deaths in 2016, 66.4 percent of which involved an opioid. Across all drug categories examined, there were increases in deaths from 2015 to 2016. The largest overall rate increases were seen among deaths involving cocaine and synthetic opioids (52.4 and 100 percent, respectively), likely due to increases in illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Across demographics, urbanization levels, and states and D.C. there were increases observed.

"The opioid overdose epidemic in the United States continues to worsen," the authors write. "A multifaceted approach, with faster and more comprehensive surveillance, is needed to track emerging threats to prevent and respond to the overdose epidemic through naloxone availability, safe prescribing practices, harm-reduction services, linkage into treatment, and more collaboration between public health and public safety agencies."

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