Fentanyl overtakes heroin as the No. 1 opioid overdose killer

The rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States has tripled from 1999 through 2016. — D-Keine

Although many experts have pointed to the overprescribing of prescription painkillers as the root of the United States opioid crisis, they say it has evolved, first into a heroin crisis and now into a fentanyl epidemic.

In 2016, the latest year for which full data is available, "29 per cent of all drug overdose deaths mentioned involvement of fentanyl", said the report from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 2012 to 2015, it was heroin, and in 2016, fentanyl. Cocaine ranked second or third in each year included in the study, and the prescription opioid oxycodone was the leading drug in 2011. The drugs most commonly involved in drug overdose deaths during 2011 to 2016 include fentanyl, heroin, oxycodone, and cocaine, according to the December 12 issue of the National Vital Statistics Reports, a publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Overdose deaths from methadone decreased by 10 percent per year from 2011 to 2014, according to the report. "It's not really what's happening", lead author Holly Hedegaard said.

In the 2011-16 period examined, the number of drug overdoses involving methadone has dropped. The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving heroin more than tripled from 2011 through 2016, as did the rate of drug overdose deaths involving methamphetamine.

Much of the emphasis of the drug overdose crisis has been on opioids, but there has also been an increase in the rates and numbers of cocaine- and methamphetamine-related deaths.

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McCabe was sacked himself this year by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions after Trump repeatedly complained about McCabe. In total, Flynn met 19 times with the special counsel's office and others, for nearly 63 hours, they said.

The drugs most often cited in suicides were OxyContin, Benadryl, Vicodin and Xanax, the researchers found.

The findings were published December 12 in the CDC's National Vital Statistics Report. 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.

Moreover, the study sheds light on a more pressing issue: that those who overdosed had not just one substance in their system.

According the CDC, an average of 50,000 Americans die from drug overdoses each year.

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