Government report reveals which drugs are most frequently used in overdose deaths

Heroin is prepared using a fentanyl test strip to check for contamination. A new report drilled down to determine the specifi

In 2016, the latest year for which full data is available, "29 per cent of all drug overdose deaths mentioned involvement of fentanyl", said the report from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Wednesday's report, which analyzed death certificates for drug overdose deaths between 2011 and 2016, fentanyl was involved in almost 29% of all overdose deaths in 2016. The study examined decedents who were USA residents with an underlying cause of death being a drug overdose, including people who did it unintentionally and intentionally (suicide and homicide and undetermined reasons). Each year from 2013 to 2016, the rate of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl and fentanyl analogs doubled (0.6, 1.3, 2.6, and 5.9 per 100,000 in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, respectively).

A new report analyzing the drugs involved in fatal overdoses once again emphasized fentanyl's role in the United States' opioid crisis and highlighted a point frequently made by public health experts: Most people who fatally overdose have more than one drug in their system. For the previous four years (2012 to 2015), heroin topped the list. Many fatalities also involved multiple drugs, the report says. "It's not really what's happening". Deaths involving heroin have also continued to rise, increasing threefold from 2011 to 2016.

In 2011, oxycodone ranked first.

Between 2011 and 2016, the rate of deaths involving heroin and methamphetamine more than tripled, the study authors noted.

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The report says methamphetamine is claiming a larger number of lives than in years past and that it's responsible for almost 11 percent of cases - up from less than 5 percent in 2011.

Over the same time, the number of people who died from overdosing on methadone dropped. In cases where a death involved more than one drug (e.g., both heroin and cocaine), they counted the death in all relevant drug categories.

The findings are reflected in the most recent overdose death statistics from Trumbull County.

"This study continues to sound the alarm that we have a long way to go to reversing the tragic trends within the opioid crisis", Kirane said.

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