The U.S. death rate from drug overdoses increased 6.5 percent in 2014 to a record 47,055, according to new CDC data. That includes an 80 percent increase in deaths from synthetic opioids and 26 percent increase from heroin. CDC researchers also noted that, since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses in general has increased 137 percent, including a 200 percent increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids. Between 2013 and 2014, the age-adjusted rate of death involving methadone remained unchanged; however, the age-adjusted rate of death involving natural and semisynthetic opioid pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids, other than methadone (e.g., fentanyl) increased 9 percent, 26 percent, and 80 percent respectively. The sharp increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone in 2014 coincides with law enforcement reports of the increased availability of illicitly manufactured fentanyl and its introduction into batches of heroin, unbeknownst to users.
Read the report here.