Health Care

Government report reveals which drugs are most frequently used in overdose deaths

Government report reveals which drugs are most frequently used in overdose deaths”

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reviewed death certificates filed from 2011 to 2016 to find out which drugs were mentioned most frequently each year.

Fentanyl-related drug overdose deaths have doubled each year from 2013 through 2016, "from 0.6 per 100,000 in 2013 to 1.3 in 2014, 2.6 in 2015, and 5.9 in 2016", said the report.

The study said that illegal drugs such as fentanyl and heroin were the primary causes of unintentional overdoses, while prescription drugs such as oxycodone tended to be used in suicide overdoses.

"The drugs that ranked 11-15 varied from year to year and included such drugs as diphenhydramine, citalopram, acetaminophen, carisoprodol, tramadol, oxymorphone and amitrip", the CDC said. Between 2013 and 2016, overdose deaths involving fentanyl increased about 113 percent per year, researchers found.

It's the first time the synthetic opioid has been the nation's deadliest drug.

Fentanyl is now the most commonly used drug involved in drug overdoses, according to a new government report.

As an example, roughly 40 per cent of people listed as dying of a cocaine overdose also had fentanyl in their system. Oxycodone held the top spot in 2011.

The report says methamphetamine is claiming a larger number of lives than in years past and that it's responsible for almost 11 percent of cases - up from less than 5 percent in 2011. "It represents an evolution of the opioid crises in which patterns have shifted to a much more potent drug, putting users at a greater risk of overdose and death", he added.

It works on the brain like morphine or heroin, but is 50 to 100 times more potent, and can easily lead to overdose.

Between 2011 and 2016, the rate of deaths involving heroin and methamphetamine more than tripled, the study authors noted.

Moreover, the study sheds light on a more pressing issue: that those who overdosed had not just one substance in their system.

In the 2011-16 period examined, the number of drug overdoses involving methadone has dropped. It's hard to know how people get these drugs, because that data is not on death certificates, she said.

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