Opioid deaths hit record high in 2017

CDC: Drug overdoses hit new high in 2017 | TheHill

That represents a rise of 6.6 percent nationwide from 2016 and a death toll higher than any other cause of non-disease death in the USA, including HIV, homicides, or vehicle crashes. The recent inclusion of December 2017 means that a complete, albeit early look at 2017 overdose mortality is now available for the first time. In parts of New England, where a more unsafe drug supply arrived early, the number of overdoses has begun to fall. A recent report from MA indicates the downward trend in drug deaths in that state may continue. That was the case in Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island; each state has had major public health campaigns and has increased addiction treatment.

The CDC's data also showed that the overdose rate decreased in a number of states, including Vermont and MA, where overdose rates were among the highest in the nation.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott has said that the government would make a decision on the fate of the overdose prevention sites, as well as more permanent facilities aimed at fighting the opioid crisis, by the end of September.

Though the number of deaths rose in most states previous year, the number of fatal drug overdoses declined in 14 states, including Rhode Island (minus 7 percent), Vermont (minus 6 percent) and MA (minus 1 percent). Nebraska had the fewest with just 8.2 deaths per 100,000, a rate less than one-seventh the rate in West Virginia. Particularly significant were the decreases seen in Vermont and MA, two states with relatively high rates of overdose mortality. Nationwide there were 48,612 opioid overdose deaths in 2017, according to the CDC's estimate. While it's too early to say whether that trend will continue through 2018, those numbers are somewhat encouraging. "We have had a massive increase in the amount of drugs that are laced with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, so I'm not too shocked there was a rise in the data".


A chief concern among substance abuse experts is the current ubiquity of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that's roughly 50 times more potent than heroin.

Policymakers have struggled to come up with an adequate response to the opioid crisis.

"Veterinarians should also follow professional standards set by the American Veterinary Medical Association in prescribing these products to ensure those who are working with these powerful medications understand the risks and their role in combating this epidemic", he continued.

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