The number of Americans who have died from a drug overdose attributable to opioids soared by 14 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report revealed that between 2000 and 2014 a stunning 500,000 people have died as a result of drug overdoses, with substances like heroin and prescription drugs playing a big role.
The dramatic increase in overdoses does not appear to be limited to any particular group, with increases among both men and women, non-Hispanic whites and blacks, and adults almost all ages. The five states with the highest rates of overdose are West Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Ohio.
Forty-seven thousand people died from overdoses in 2014, mainly as a result of heroin and other opioids. Since the turn of the century, the rate of deaths from overdoses has skyrocketed 137 percent, while the rate for deaths involving opioids has jumped 200 percent.
The most common opioids involved in overdoses are those classified as natural or semi-synthetic opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, according to the CDC. Deaths attributable to these drugs rose by nine percent from 2013 to 2014.
The report also highlighted the increase in the number of deaths involving illicitly made fentanyl, which is often marketed as heroin or added to heroin.
“The increasing number of deaths from opioid overdose is alarming,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement. “The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities. To curb these trends and save lives, we must help prevent addiction and provide support and treatment to those who suffer from opioid use disorders.”