The number of deaths from overdoses of illicit opioids rose sharply again in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.
“The epidemic of deaths involving opioids continues to worsen,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said. “Prescription opioid misuse and use of heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl are intertwined and deeply troubling problems.”
Overdose deaths (9,580) from synthetic opioids, most of them fentanyl related, skyrocketed by 73%. Deaths that involved prescription opioids (17,536) rose just 4%.
And deaths attributed to heroin (12,990) went up 23% in 2015.
“The prescription opioid and heroin epidemic continues to devastate communities and families across the country — in large part because too many people still do not get effective substance use disorder treatment,” Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli said.
A total of 33,091 Americans died from opioid overdose last year. Some of the deaths involved a combination of drugs, officials noted.
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