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Fentanyl Fuels Peak Overdose Fatalities to Date

(Winter 2018) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2017 U.S. death toll for overdose mortalities rose beyond 72,000. This is over 6,000 additional deaths than the past record set in 2016. The large death count averages out to 200 overdose fatalities each day.

The spike was mainly fueled by man-made opioids, including fentanyl — a drug that is about 50 times stronger than heroin. Drug cartels are mixing this drug with other substances because it is inexpensive and plentiful as well as very addictive.

West Virginia was the state most affected, with almost 59 overdose fatalities per every 100,000 residents. Others in the top five were the District of Columbia (50.4), Pennsylvania (44.1), Ohio (44.0) and Maryland (37.9). On the other end of the gamut were many of the Plains states. For example, Nebraska saw the least amount of fatal overdoses, with 8.2 deaths per 100,000 residents.

The U.S. overdose rate grew overall, but the CDC’s statistics indicate that overdoses did drop in some states. This includes Massachusetts and Vermont, both of which in the past have been strongly impacted by deadly drug overdoses.

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