Newly released national data that depict the persistent crisis of opioid overdose deaths also demonstrate significant growth in overdose deaths involving stimulants. The presence of fentanyl in the drug supply appears to be fueling both trends, according to researchers.
Published on March 30 in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the data examined trends in drug overdose deaths from 2015 to 2016. While 66.4% of the more than 63,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2016 involved an opioid, the largest increases in overdose death rates over the one-year period occurred for synthetic opioids (a 100% increase) and cocaine (a 52.4% increase).
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia experienced a significant increase in cocaine-involved overdose death rates from 2015 to 2016, the CDC researchers reported. The highest rates of cocaine-involved overdose deaths per 100,000 residents in 2016 were seen in the District of Columbia, Rhode Island and Ohio.
Meanwhile, rates of psychostimulant-involved overdose deaths in 2016 were highest in Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The state-based overdose death statistics are based on a review of 31 states and the District of Columbia.
The researchers point out that the drug categories they examined in this analysis are not mutually exclusive, in that some overdose deaths involve the presence of more than one type of drug.
The analysis also found that overdose death rates related to opioids and stimulants increased for both sexes, whites, African-Americans, and most age groups.
With the opioid epidemic continuing to rage, and the overdose picture growing increasingly complex at the same time, the researchers stated, “A multifaceted approach, with faster and more comprehensive surveillance, is needed to track emerging threats to prevent and respond to the epidemic through naloxone availability, safe prescribing practices, harm reduction services, linkage into treatment, and more collaboration between public health and public safety agencies.”
The National Cocaine, Meth & Stimulant Summit is produced by the Institute for the Advancement of Behavioral Healthcare, the leading media and events producer in the behavioral healthcare field. The Institute also produces the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, the largest national annual gathering on the opioid crisis.