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Drug Overdose Fatality Rate Higher in US Than Suicides, Cars, Guns

© Flickr / James GardnerHeroin was responsible for more deaths than murder in New York City last year.
Heroin was responsible for more deaths than murder in New York City last year. - Sputnik International
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A study has revealed that the drug overdose fatality rate in the United States is higher than that for gun deaths, car accidents, and firearms.

A counter-narcotics police officer sprays herbicide over a coca plant during a campaign to eradicate coca crops in La Espriella, southern Colombia. - Sputnik International
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The report, released on February 28 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that fatal drug overdoses have more than doubled since 1999, increasing across all age groups and genders. 

The CDC also found that adults aged 55–64 had the highest increase in the rate of overdoses in 2015, from 4.2 per 100,000 in 1999, to 21.8 per 100,000 in 2016. This is an average increase of 10.5 percent each year. Adults aged 45-54 had the highest death rate however, with 30 deaths per 100,000, more than twice the rate of those aged 15-24.

“Although rates increased 63 percent for non-Hispanic black persons (from 7.5 per 100,000 in 1999 to 12.2 in 2015) and 43 percent for Hispanic persons (from 5.4 in 1999 to 7.7 in 2015), non-Hispanic white persons experienced the greatest increase between 1999 and 2015. The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths among non-Hispanic white persons increased 240 percent from 6.2 per 100,000 in 1999 to 21.1 in 2015,” the report states.

Deaths involving heroin tripled in just five years, from 8 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in 2015, while deaths involving cocaine increased from 11 percent to 13 percent over the same time period.

Morphine painkiller with a credit card in the background. - Sputnik International
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Overdoses involving natural and semisynthetic opioid analgesics such as oxycodone and hydrocodone decreased from 29 percent in 2010 to 24 percent in 2015, while those involving  synthetic opioids other than methadone, such as fentanyl and tramadol, increased from 8 percent to 18 percent over the five year span.

In February, President Donald Trump held a meeting at the White House to address the opioid epidemic. A big part of his plan has been to slow the flow of drugs over the Mexican border by building a wall, and working with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Because we share a strong concern about the increase in opioid-related deaths, our countries will work together on common solutions to protect our people from opioid trafficking,” Trump said in a statement following his meeting with Trudeau.

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