Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Fentanyl Now the Deadliest Drug in the US

Fentanyl Now the Deadliest Drug in the US

Overall, more than 63,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2016, according to the new report, which was prepared by the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drugs such as heroin and cocaine are increasingly being laced with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, causing many drug users to consume fatal doses by mistake.

The researchers found that the 10 most frequently mentioned drugs among drug overdose deaths were fentanyl, heroin, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, alprazolam, diazepam, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

Health officials say fentanyl has become the most fatal drug in the United States as of 2016, the most recent year figures were available. On average, the rate of fentanyl OD deaths increased by 113% per year from 2013 to 2016.

Another 35 of the 61 overdose deaths in the county were blamed on multiple drugs which included Fentanyl or its analogs created to mimic the effects of the drug.

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Although unintentional deaths from drug overdoses are mostly seen with illegal drugs, suicides most often involve prescription or over-the-counter drugs, Hedegaard's team found. It states that the rate of overdose deaths involving fentanyl had risen to 9 per 100,000 people, compared to 6.2 per 100,000 in 2016.

Deaths involving heroin more than tripled during this time period as did those linked to methamphetamine.

In addition, other forms of fentanyl, such as carfentanil or butyrfentanyl, which are much more potent than fentanyl itself, are also involved in overdose deaths, Kirane said. Sometimes people believe they are taking pure heroin or cocaine, but the drug is laced with fentanyl. A study published earlier this year found that the USA has been undercounting opioid-related deaths by 20 to 35 percent, due to varying standards between states and counties for investigating and reporting overdose deaths.

Fentanyl is now the most commonly used drug involved in drug overdoses, according to a new government report. Accordingly, they applied an adjustment factor taking into account better reporting of specific drugs involved.

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