72K Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2017, CDC estimates


Using deaths that are confirmed, the agency measured a 10.2 percent increase in overdose deaths between 2016 and 2017.

That staggering sum works out to about 200 drug overdose deaths every single day, or one every eight minutes.

A Washington Post analysis of the report found that the increase in overdose deaths was largely due to a surge in the use of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

An advocacy group says a recent string of overdose deaths in a pocket of Canada's most populous city highlights the need for new overdose prevention sites. Heroin accounted for 15,958 deaths and natural and semi-synthetic opioids were involved in 14,958 deaths.

The CDC noted, however, that the preliminary data is incomplete and likely underestimate the true number of deaths. The CDC adjusts these figures to correct for underreporting, since some recorded deaths are still pending full investigation.

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The CDC updates these provisional numbers monthly. In parts of New England, where a more unsafe drug supply arrived early, the number of overdoses has begun to fall. Those areas did see a drop in overdose deaths over the course of the year, and that trend has continued into 2018. After instituting a new emergency response strategy - and drawing from new federal and state grant funds - the county health department has documented reductions in overdose deaths, emergency room visits and ambulance calls of more than 60 percent between January 2017 and June of this year. Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont all saw declines.

States in the Great Plains had among the lowest death rates. One worrying sign: Jones said there is some early evidence that drug distributors are finding ways to mix fentanyl with black tar heroin, which could increase death rates in the West.

The CDC's data also showed that the overdose rate decreased in a number of states, including Vermont and MA, where overdose rates were among the highest in the nation. Particularly significant were the decreases seen in Vermont and MA, two states with relatively high rates of overdose mortality.

A record number of Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017, lending to what experts and the Trump administration consider a growing national health emergency - and new efforts to curb the opioid crisis.

Fentanyl and analogs, like carfentanil - 100 times more powerful than fentanyl - are increasingly showing up in death notices around the country. "We have had a massive increase in the amount of drugs that are laced with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, so I'm not too shocked there was a rise in the data". During 2017, the president declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency, and states began tapping a $1 billion grant program to help fight the problem.