A grim tally soars: More than 50,000 over­dose deaths in US

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH -

NEW YORK:

More than 50,000 Amer­i­cans died from drug over­doses last year, the most ever. The dis­as­trous tally has been pushed to new heights by soar­ing abuse of heroin and pre­scrip­tion painkillers, a class of drugs known as opi­oids. Heroin deaths rose 23 per­cent in one year, to 12,989, slightly higher than the num­ber of gun homi­cides, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment data re­leased Thurs­day. Deaths from syn­thetic opi­oids, in­clud­ing il­licit fen­tanyl, rose 73 per­cent to 9,580. And pre­scrip­tion painkillers took the high­est toll, but posted the small­est in­crease. Abuse of drugs like Oxycon­tin and Vi­codin killed 17,536, an in­crease of 4 per­cent. “I don’t think we’ve ever seen any­thing like this. Cer­tainly not in modern times,” said Robert An­der­son, who over­sees death statis­tics at the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. The new num­bers were part of the agency’s an­nual tally of deaths and death rates in 2015. — AP

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