Deadly drug overdoses more than doubled since 1999

Chart showing the rate of Americans who have died from drug overdoses from 1999 to 2015. The trend hasn’t always been upwards

The rate of fatal drug overdoses in the USA more than doubled since 1999, outpacing suicide and auto accidents in 2015 as a cause of death, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2010, there were 3,036 overdose fatalities related to heroin in the U.S. In 2015, that number increased more than fourfold to 12,989 heroin-related overdose deaths, according to aReuters report citing data from the NCHS. But the rate grew the fastest - an average of 10.5 percent per year from 1999 to 2015 - among adults between 55 and 64 years old.

The highest rates of drug overdose deaths occurred in West Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky and Ohio.

Drug overdose deaths have almost tripled in the United States since 1999, with whites and middle-aged Americans bearing much of the brunt, a new government report shows.

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The states with the highest rates were: West Virginia, with 41.5 per 100,000; New Hampshire, with 34.3; and Kentucky and OH each with 29.9. In 2010, only 8 percent of all drug overdose deaths involved heroin, but by 2015, 25 percent involved heroin, the report said.

Heroin-related deaths in the United States skyrocketed in the span of five years, amounting to a quarter of all overdose deaths by 2015, according to new federal data, presenting another grim snapshot of America's opioid epidemic. For males, the rate rose from 8.2 per 100,000 in 1999 to 20.8 in 2015, an average spike of 5% a year.

CDC researchers examined data from the National Vital Statics System to see the effects of drug trends across the nation from 1999 to 2015, ABC reported.

Last year, the CDC introduced new guidelines for prescribing opioid painkillers, with an aim of reducing the risk of addiction and overdose tied to these drugs.

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Bolstered by a huge increase in cases involving heroin, the rate at which Americans die from drug overdoses has more than doubled since the end of the millennium. But previous studies have found that the recent increase in drug overdose deaths has occurred alongside an increase in prescriptions for opioid pain relievers. Still, the group with the highest overall rates of fatal overdose was slightly younger - adults aged 45-54.

Startling numbers from a new study shows more Americans are dying from drug overdose.

"It's that it's not just heroin anymore between the fentanyl [and] of the synthetic variants including carfentanil" an elephant tranquilizer, said Slovis. One drug, carfentanil, is used as an elephant tranquilizer.

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