Drug Overdose Deaths from Fentanyl Rise 540% in Three Years

September 18, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​Although deaths attributed to prescription opioids are going down, deaths from fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, have increased dramatically, by 540%, over the past three years, according to provisional data released by the National Center for Health Statistics. Deaths related to drug overdoses rose from 52,404 to 62,000 (22%) between 2015 and 2016, and deaths related to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl rose from 3,000 to 20,000 between 2013 and 2016. The report suggests that drug overdoses will likely remain the most common cause of death in the United States for people age 50 or younger, primarily owing to abuse of synthetic opioids. The report also found an increase in deaths involving cocaine and methamphetamine.

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