BREAKING NEWS : Man in critical condition after shooting in Fort Wayne Full Story

US drug overdose deaths rose 7% in 2017 and doubled over a decade, CDC reports

More than 72,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017, up nearly 7% from 2016, according to preliminary ...

Posted: Aug 17, 2018 1:59 AM
Updated: Aug 17, 2018 1:59 AM

More than 72,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017, up nearly 7% from 2016, according to preliminary data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2017 preliminary death count for all 50 states and the District of Columbia represents a twofold increase over a decade, the CDC says.

The authors of the report say the 2017 numbers may be an underestimate because states' investigations into some overdose deaths may not be complete.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Controlled substances

Drug overdoses

Drugs and society

Government organizations - US

Health and medical

Public health

Society

Substance abuse

US Department of Health and Human Services

US federal departments and agencies

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Continents and regions

Heroin

Illegal drugs

North America

Opioids

Pharmaceutical industry

Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology

Pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs

Prescription drug abuse

The Americas

United States

Opioids, which include prescription painkillers along with heroin and other illegal synthetic opioid drugs, contributed 49,068 to the total number of overdose deaths, the report indicates. From 2002 to 2017, the CDC estimates a 4.1-fold increase in the total number of deaths due to all types of opioid drugs.

"The most striking patterns at the national level are the recent increases in the numbers of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids (excluding methadone)," Lauren Rossen, co-author of the report and a statistician at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, wrote in an email.

Nearly 30,000 overdose deaths were related to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in 2017, which is 22 times the number of deaths due to these drugs in 2002, the CDC finds.

When describing deaths involving specific drugs, "a single death might be included in more than one category," Rossen and lead author Farida B. Ahmad, of the Division of Vital Statistics at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, noted in the report. "For example, a death that involved both heroin and fentanyl would be included in both the number of drug overdose deaths involving heroin and the number of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone."

Breaking out the numbers in greater detail, they found that overdose deaths involving prescription pain relievers -- exclusive of synthetic opioids -- nearly doubled from 2002 to 2011, yet have remained relatively stable since.

The lowest number of overdose deaths due to cocaine, 4,312 in 2010, rose to a preliminary count of 14,556 in 2017, a 3.5-fold increase, the report also said.

Differences across the states include which specific drugs are involved in the deaths, Rossen noted.

"Prior studies have found that the numbers of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids have increased more rapidly in states across the Midwest and Eastern US," she said. The new report shows this to be true, but the data are preliminary and so incomplete for some states.

"States in the Western part of the U.S. have not seen the same kind of increases in drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids," she added, noting that it is more common to see psychostimulants such as methamphetamine involved in drug overdose deaths in states like Oregon, Nevada and Washington.

Alex Ebied, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, said that because opioid overdose deaths accounted for the majority -- nearly 68% -- of the preliminary total for 2017, the new report is "showcasing the opioid epidemic in the United States."

"It is important to note that this data encompasses both intentional and accidental overdoses," added Ebied, who was not involved in the CDC report.

Examples of accidental overdoses include children finding medications within arm's reach and chronic pain sufferers who have developed a tolerance for their medications and overdose when they try to control the pain from a severe episode, he said.

"While the opioid epidemic is a major concern, it is worth mentioning there are non-opioids overdoses representing 32.1%" of the total overdose deaths for 2017, Ebied said. "Any drug can be abused, but accessibility, cost and addictive properties are major factors."

He said that over-the-counter medications including acetaminophen, a non-opioid pain reliever, or loperamide, an anti-diarrheal, are also abused while ingestion of Tide detergent pods, K2 and "bath salts" are an emerging concern.

"The sharp increase in fentanyl and fentanyl analogs indicates there is abuse of access to this drug class," Ebied said, noting that fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine. "Although the Drug Enforcement Administration has a tight control of these controlled substances, accessibility continues to occur.

"A majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet," Ebied said. He noted that there are increased efforts toward substance abuse awareness, including the Generation Rx Initiative, an educational program to increase public awareness of prescription medication abuse, and the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, an initiative to dispose of unused drugs in a responsible way.

Other positive steps include increasing supply of naloxone, the opioid antidote, to first responders, while some states, including his own, are taking steps to limit opioid prescribing.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 77565

Reported Deaths: 3105
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16304733
Lake7840283
Elkhart499287
Allen4103164
St. Joseph368183
Hamilton2941104
Vanderburgh208215
Hendricks1972109
Cass18099
Johnson1800119
Porter139139
Clark133350
Tippecanoe126312
Madison104866
LaPorte95730
Howard93865
Kosciusko87212
Bartholomew84447
Floyd83750
Marshall80123
Monroe77732
Delaware76852
Vigo75213
Dubois71812
Noble70829
Boone70446
Hancock69439
Jackson6065
Warrick60030
Shelby57228
LaGrange56910
Grant53230
Dearborn52228
Morgan49235
Henry46020
Clinton4564
Wayne40210
White38011
Montgomery36321
Lawrence35827
Harrison35524
Decatur34732
Putnam3288
Daviess28420
Miami2792
Scott27810
Jasper2592
Greene25634
Franklin24915
Gibson2434
DeKalb2424
Jennings23212
Ripley2208
Steuben2173
Fayette2057
Carroll2033
Perry18813
Posey1810
Starke1817
Orange17924
Wabash1795
Wells1782
Fulton1742
Jefferson1722
Knox1681
Whitley1606
Tipton15416
Sullivan1521
Washington1481
Clay1415
Spencer1393
Randolph1325
Huntington1303
Newton12110
Adams1202
Owen1101
Jay940
Rush914
Pulaski841
Fountain762
Brown752
Blackford662
Pike660
Ohio656
Benton630
Vermillion610
Parke591
Switzerland560
Martin500
Crawford480
Union410
Warren251
Unassigned0207

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 105426

Reported Deaths: 3755
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin19124533
Cuyahoga13999519
Hamilton9917260
Lucas5544324
Montgomery4544101
Summit3712224
Butler307064
Marion295245
Mahoning2644258
Pickaway240442
Stark1931142
Warren187739
Lorain186777
Columbiana169960
Trumbull1578111
Fairfield144933
Delaware137819
Licking136751
Clark121815
Lake115443
Wood110158
Clermont98111
Medina97736
Miami88139
Allen81746
Tuscarawas80114
Portage78063
Greene74212
Mercer66813
Belmont62826
Richland62612
Erie61928
Ashtabula58046
Madison58010
Wayne56759
Geauga56545
Ross5204
Darke42529
Huron4135
Hancock4103
Sandusky40717
Ottawa40527
Athens3642
Holmes3316
Lawrence3230
Auglaize2866
Union2771
Scioto2601
Muskingum2561
Seneca2424
Jefferson2403
Preble2192
Shelby2194
Knox2189
Putnam21517
Washington21222
Coshocton1999
Champaign1922
Morrow1852
Hardin18012
Crawford1775
Clinton1746
Highland1692
Logan1692
Perry1643
Fulton1581
Ashland1563
Defiance1554
Wyandot1559
Brown1502
Williams1393
Fayette1260
Henry1242
Hocking1229
Guernsey1217
Carroll1145
Monroe9418
Pike800
Gallia781
Jackson780
Van Wert732
Paulding720
Adams682
Meigs630
Vinton322
Morgan310
Harrison261
Noble190
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
Angola
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 64°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 67°
Decatur
64° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 64°
Van Wert
64° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 64°
Storm Chances Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events