Rose A. Rudd, MSPH; Puja Seth, PhD; Felicita David, MS; Lawrence Scholl, PhD – 2016
This article explains the United States opioid epidemic is continuing and drug overdose deaths nearly tripled during1999-2014. It notes that among 47,055 drug overdose deaths that occurred in 2014, 28,647 (60.9%) involved an opioid. Statistics are presented that indicate from 2014 to 2015, the death rate from synthetic opioids other than methadone, which includes fentanyl, increased by 72.2%, and heroin death rates increased by 20.6%. Rates of death involving heroin and synthetic opioids other than methadone increased across all demographic groups, regions, and in numerous States. Natural/semisynthetic opioid death rates increased by 2.6%, whereas, methadone death rates decreased by 9.1%. The need to intensify efforts to distribute naloxone, enhance access to treatment, and implement harm reduction services is discussed. 2 tables and 10 references.