CDC data shows increase in drug deaths in 2019

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that while drug overdose deaths from prescription opioids are dropping, overdose deaths for 2019 are up compared to 2018.

According to the report, deaths due to opioid-related drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine are down 5 percent over 2018. Opioid-related deaths declined 13 percent between 2017 and 2018.

But overdose deaths due to fentanyl, stimulants including methamphetamine and cocaine, and deaths due to poly-drug involvements are up, the report showed. Between 2012 and 2019, the report said drug overdoses involving cocaine increased from 1.4 deaths per 100,000 Americans to 4.9 per every 100,000, while those involving psychostimulants increased from .8 per 100,000 to 5.0 per 100,000.

The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Director Jim Carroll said the new data suggests America should address drug smuggling across the Mexican border.

“Last year’s drug mortality data makes it clear: innovations in illicit substance combinations, and a stark spike in the amount of lethal methamphetamine smuggled into the United States from Mexico, took a heartbreaking toll on the United States in 2019,” Carroll said in a press release. “Almost all of the illegal drugs killing people and shattering families are coming from outside of the United States. It is apparent that continued vigilance at our Nation’s Borders is necessary to keep illicit substances off of American soil and out of our communities.”

Carroll said the dropping opioid death numbers could be linked to the Trump administration’s declaration of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency in 2017.

“Yet within the grim overall numbers, there are rays of hope: opioid-related deaths involving opioid analgesics excluding fentanyl continue to fall year-over-year since President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in 2017,” Carroll said. “By taking the whole-of-government approach championed by the Trump Administration to address the opioid crisis, and applying it to the scourge of methamphetamine, fentanyl, and other deadly synthetics, we can begin to turn the tide and ensure fewer American lives are lost, and those suffering from substance use disorder are connected with treatment and hope.”

Liz Carey

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