Heroin Overdose Issue Required Urgent Attention: CDC Review

Heroin Overdose Issue Required Urgent Attention: CDC Review

Heroin overdose accounts for nearly 25 percent of overdose cases in the United States as per a new CDC review on opioid related deaths across the country. Compared to year 2010 when nearly 50 percent of overdose deaths were due to opioid overdose, the number has increased to 60 percent in 2015. In 1999, just 6 percent of overdoses were linked to heroin and now it accounts for nearly 25 percent of overdose cases.

The CDC report points to spike in overdose cases among White, middle aged men. Generation X and baby boomers are also considered as high risk group as per latest CDC data. For adults in age group 55 – 64, the number of drug overdose deaths have increased to 21.8 per 100,000 in 2015 as compared to 4.2 in 1999. The highest rate of deaths due to drug overdose has been recorded in age group 45 – 54 at 30 deaths per 100,000 people.

Medical community is concerned about increasing use of drugs and especially opioid among Americans. The highest drug overdose rates were recorded in West Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky and Ohio.

In 2015, opioids killed more than 33,000 people across the United States as per CDC data. The alarming sign is nearly 50 percent of opioid related overdoses are from prescription opioids. However, due to enhanced prescription drug monitoring by employers and law enforcement agencies, the number of drug overdose cases due to prescription opioids is expected to reduce in the coming years. The medical community is well aware of the issue and with recent reports published by media on the issue, doctors are careful about prescribing opioids to high risk groups.

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of Brandeis University’s Opioid Policy Research Center, said, "Starting in 2011, overdoses involving heroin has really skyrocketed. There’s a really good chance the increase involving heroin has to be involved with fentanyl."

“When prescribed appropriately,” Kolodny said, “more than 75% of patients do very well” on buprenorphine. He noted that success from buprenorphine treatment was based on long-term use of at least a year.

Dr. Larissa Mooney, director of the University of California Los Angeles Addiction Medicine Clinic, said the new study highlighted the need for opioid addiction treatment. “We need to improve access to treatment and remove barriers,” she said.

A report published by MarketWatch informed, “People addicted to drugs are buying them on the street, as drugs like heroin are now often cheaper than other illegal drugs, and people with genuine need for pain medication leave drugs lying around or they develop an addiction to pain medication after being prescribed opioids for an injury or ailment, experts say. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids launched a “Mind Your Meds” campaign three years ago with the aim of preventing 500,000 teenagers from abusing medicines by 2017.”

As per CDC Data....

For males, the rate increased from 8.2 per 100,000 in 1999 to 20.8 in 2015, an overall average increase of 5% per year. The rate increased on average by 9% per year from 1999 to 2006, by 2% per year from 2006 to 2013, and by 12% per year from 2013 to 2015.

For females, the rate increased from 3.9 per 100,000 in 1999 to 11.8 in 2015, an overall average increase of 6% per year. The rate increased on average by 11% per year from 1999 to 2006 and by 4% per year from 2006 to 2015.

The greatest percentage increase occurred in the drug overdose death rate for adults aged 55–64, from 4.2 per 100,000 in 1999 to 21.8 in 2015, an average increase of 10.5% per year.

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