Opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. jumped 14% in one year, bringing them to record levels in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The 28,647 opioid-related deaths that year are three times higher than in 2000.
“The increasing number of deaths from opioid overdose is alarming,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., said in a news release. “The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities. To curb these trends and save lives, we must help prevent addiction and provide support and treatment to those who suffer from opioid use disorders. This report also shows how important it is that law enforcement intensify efforts to reduce the availability of heroin, illegal fentanyl, and other illegal opioids.”
Broken down by opioid type, there was a 9% increase in overdose deaths from prescribed opioids compared to 2013, a 26% increase in heroin deaths and an 80% increase in deaths from synthetic opioids other than methadone, which includes fentanyl, according to the report published in the Dec. 18 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
Opioids made up 61% of the 47,055 total drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2014, according to the report. Total overdoses rose about 6.5% compared to the previous year with West Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky and Ohio experiencing the highest rates.