Medicine

CDC: Fentanyl use drove record high overdose deaths in 2017

CDC: Fentanyl use drove record high overdose deaths in 2017

The CDC noted, however, that the preliminary data is incomplete and likely underestimate the true number of deaths.

Geographically the deaths are distributed similarly to how they've been in prior years, with parts of Appalachia and New England showing the highest mortality rates. Both Vermont and MA had fewer deaths in that time period.

Childs recommends expanding access to syringe exchange programs, naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and methadone and buprenorphone to help stymie overdose deaths. Patrick Kennedy, a member of the task force the administration convened to tackle the epidemic, criticized Trump for being "all talk and no follow-through" on opioids late past year. Preliminary 2018 numbers from MA suggest that the death rate there may be continuing to fall.

During a Thursday press conference, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said President Donald Trump's nominee for drug czar, Jim Carroll, will visit the city on Monday.

While the Department of Health and Human Services has declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, skeptics have said few solutions have actually come out of the White House or Congress.

The CDC has confirmed that 2,323 people died in North Carolina from drug overdoses in 2017, but the actual number is estimated to be 2,515 deaths.The latest data from OCME is that 2,547 people died from drug overdoses in 2017. Ciccarone said the real number could be as high as 4 million.

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States in the Great Plains had among the lowest death rates. In New Jersey, opioid overdose deaths increased 27 percent.

"Even when you think you're doing better, all it takes is one bad batch of fentanyl in any state and you're going to have deaths", said Mark Levine, a physician and the health commissioner of Vermont, which has made major investments in addiction treatment but still experienced a spike in deaths in 2016.

In 2017, New Hanover Regional Medical Center EMS responded to 529 opioid overdoses, according to data provided by a spokesperson.

States with the highest increases in drug deaths include Nebraska (33 percent), North Carolina (23 percent), New Jersey (21 percent), in (15 percent), Arkansas (11 percent), ME (11 percent), West Virginia (11 percent), SC (10 percent) and Tennessee (10 percent).

Congress is debating a variety of bills to fight the epidemic. One worrying sign: Jones said there is some early evidence that drug distributors are finding ways to mix fentanyl with black tar heroin, which could increase death rates in the West.


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