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Heart Disease Deaths Plunge But Drug Overdoses Rise: CDC

4 November 2017, 1:45 pm EDT By Sami Ghanmi Tech Times
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The number of deaths by drug overdose in the United States rose last year by around 20 percent, a new CDC report reveals. As the number of drug overdose deaths rises, the rate of heart disease deaths has dropped.

Drug Overdose Deaths Rise

Drug overdose is currently the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50 in the United States. According to the CDC report, the number of deaths caused by drug overdose has increased from 16.3 deaths per 100,000 people in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 19.8 per 100,000 people in 2016.

Dr. Robert Anderson said that the drug deaths were mostly caused by overdoses of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Fentanyl is also known as fentanil. It is an opioid pain medication which is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Just like morphine, fentanyl is used as part of anesthesia to help prevent pain after surgery or other medical procedures.

For 15 years, over half a million people have died from drug overdoses, and in 2016 alone, it was estimated that over 60,000 people have died as a result of it.

Cancer And Heart Disease Deaths Plunge

Despite the fact that the number of deaths caused by cancer and heart disease is falling, the overall death rate in the United States has still managed to increase remarkably. According to Farida Ahmed, the author of the report, the increase in number is due to the rise of drug overdoses in the country along with other factors.

The CDC report shows that the death rate caused by cancer went down a bit from 186 deaths to 180 per 100,000 people in the second quarter of this year. Meanwhile, the death rate caused by heart disease fell from 217 deaths in the first quarter of 2017 to 187 deaths per 100,000 people in the second quarter of the same year.

The decrease in number for heart disease may have been caused by the widespread adoption of "good cardiovascular treatments", lifestyle changes and improvement in diet, according to Dr. David Friedman, the head of heart failure services at the Northwell Health's Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital.

Firearm-Related Deaths Have Also Increased

In addition to drug overdoses, the report also shows a slight increase in the number of gun deaths for the second straight year. The rate climbed up from 11 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015 to 12 deaths per 100,000 in 2016. Last year, it was estimated that over 38,000 people have died due to firearm.

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