America's war on drugs proves to be ever-ongoing with the reveal of the latest deadliest synthetic predator - fentanyl.
A new government report has released numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics which state that the rate of drug overdoses caused by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, has taken a massive leap of about 113 percent each year from 2013 to 2016. That isn't a typo, over one hundred percent of overdoses have been reported for each of those three years.
According to CNN, the total number of drug overdoses increased by approximately 54 percent every year from 2011 to 2016. To put this into context, the number of reported deaths in America due to drug overdoses was 63,632 in 2016 alone. The CDC's most recent report this year, which analyzed death certificates for deaths attributed to drug overdoses between 2011 and 2016, showed that fentanyl was the main cause in almost 30 percent of all overdose deaths in 2016. This is a huge difference from the number in 2011 which was just 4 percent. In 2011, the biggest contributor to drug overdoses was oxycodone. It would seem that times are changing and America has preferred a new drug in the past few years.
"Fentanyl is so deadly, in the geographic regions where it's been flooding in, deaths soared like we've never seen before," said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-founder of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. Dr. Kolodny also mentioned that it's important to keep in mind that the findings of these reports do not mean that there is an end to the prescription drug problem on the horizon. Despite the shocking numbers from the reports, many overdose deaths from prescription opioids still outnumber fentanyl deaths in many states.
Clearly, we still have an overall drug problem across the nation. In a study that analyzed death certificates that contained specific mention of drugs as the cause of death, researchers found that the top ten drugs from 2011 to 2016 were consistent in three classes. The first class is opioids such as fentanyl, heroin, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, and oxycodone.
The second class is benzodiazepines such as alprazolam and diazepam while the third and final class is stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamines. Fentanyl was found to be one of the main causes of accidental overdoses while prescription drugs were found in cases of suicidal overdoses. While fentanyl tops out as America's most current deadliest drug, other drugs such as abuse of prescription drugs remains to be a killer issue in this country. We still have a long way to go before the US has a handle on the war on drugs of all kind.