Health officials say fentanyl has become the most fatal drug in the United States as of 2016, the most recent year figures were available.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report on drugs that rendered to be the causes of deadly overdose in the United States from 2011 to 2016. This is the first time fentanyl was touted the deadliest drug in series of years studied.
Rise In Fentanyl Drug Overdose
The synthetic opioid was the culprit behind more than 18,000 overdose, or 29 percent of the total 63,000, resulting to deaths two years ago, with the CDC saying there was an average of 174 people dying per day. More so, it was observed that fentanyl death cases alarmingly soared up to an average of 113 percent in three years, or from 2013 to 2016.
Analyzing the death certificates of cases related to drug overdose, CDC said fentanyl accounts for just 4 percent of the fatalities in 2011, the year when oxycodone was the leader. The staggering increase from 4 to 29 percent mirrors the problem the society is facing today despite the government's efforts to combat the widespread abuse of the synthetic opioid.
Cocaine, meanwhile, was a consistent second- and third-placer in the years studied. Twenty-five percent of the 2016 drug overdose deaths involved heroin, while methamphetamine accounts for 10 percent of the overall figure.
Deadly Combination In The System
Moreover, the study sheds light on a more pressing issue: that those who overdosed had not just one substance in their system. For instance, 40 percent of those listed by the CDC who died because of cocaine also had fentanyl in their body. Heroin and fentanyl were mostly the reasons behind accidental overdose, while prescription meds such as oxycodone and hydrocodone were the most used in suicide overdoses.
"We've had a tendency to think of these drugs in isolation. It's not really what's happening," lead author Holly Hedegaard said.
Last year, it was reported that there were over 72,000 deaths related to drug overdose, which meant the number has steadily increased. The figures could provide the pattern with which government officials could base better laws.