Survey: Progress shown against U.S. opioid crisis
Figures from a U.S. government survey released Friday show some progress in the fight against the ongoing opioid addiction crisis with fewer people in 2017 using heroin for the first time compared to the previous year.
The number of new users of heroin decreased from 170,000 in 2016 to 81,000 in 2017, a one-year drop that would need to be sustained for years to reduce the number of fatal overdoses, experts said.
Fewer Americans are misusing or addicted to prescription opioid painkillers. And more people are getting treatment for heroin and opioid addiction, the survey found.
Among the other findings:
Marijuana use climbed in all age groups except young teenagers, with 2.5 percent of those 26 and older, or 5.3 million adults, reporting they use marijuana daily or almost daily last year.
Methamphetamine and cocaine use climbed in young adults, ages 18 to 25. The uptick may indicate that users are shifting from opioids to other drugs, said Leo Beletsky, a public health policy expert at Northeastern University in Boston.
Young adults have increasing rates of serious mental illness, major depression and suicidal thoughts.
The number of new heroin users in 2017 – 81,000 – was lower than the numbers in most years from 2009 to 2016. But it was similar to the numbers of new heroin users in 2002 through 2008.
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Ferocious typhoon slams into northeastern Phillippines; some 5M people at risk
Tuguegarao, Philippines – Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into the country’s northeastern coast early Saturday, with witnesses saying the storm’s ferocious wind and blinding rain ripped off tin roof sheets and knocked out power at the start of the onslaught.
The typhoon made landfall before dawn in the coastal town of Baggao in Cagayan province on the northern tip of Luzon island, an agricultural region of flood-prone rice plains and mountain provinces often hit by landslides.
More than 5 million people were at risk from the storm, which the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center categorizes as a super typhoon with powerful winds and gusts equivalent to a category 5 Atlantic hurricane.
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