Americans are losing their lives to drug overdoses in increasing numbers each year. The sharpest rise in deaths occurred between 2016 and 2017. Respectively, the death toll rose from 63,632 to 70,237. The three drugs most frequently involved in the deaths are cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl. However, several other illicit and legal drugs are also responsible for thousands of overdose deaths each year. Below is a breakdown of the 10 deadliest drugs in the US today and their contribution to the rising death toll nationwide.
The 10 Deadliest Drugs in the US Today
When we think of drug overdoses, we often think of street drugs and homeless people. But, reality shows us a different version of the story. In fact, many overdose deaths occur among wealthy or influential people, the neighbor next door, or someone’s relative. Addiction can strike anyone regardless of financial standing, status in the community, race, age, or gender. Furthermore, not all drug overdoses involve illicit drugs. The following facts show that legal, prescription drugs are responsible for many of those deaths. So, let’s take a look at the statistics.
#10. Antihistamines – 2,286 deaths
Includes diphenhydramine drugs such as Benadryl, Banophe, and Nytol. They are responsible for a 13.8% increase in overdose deaths from 2016 to 2017.
#9. Opioids – 3,072 deaths
Prescription opioids include drugs such as Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Lorcet, and Norco. These drugs were involved in 4.4% of drug overdose deaths in 2017.
#8. Methadone – 3,286 deaths
This FDA-approved drug that is used to treat opioid addiction was involved in 4.7% of overdose deaths from 2016 to 2017.
#7. Morphine – 4,874 deaths
Morphine was involved in 6.9% of fatal overdoses in 2017 and is one of the most frequently involved in overdose deaths in the US today.
#6. Oxycodone – 6,053 deaths
This prescription painkiller is sold by the names of Roxicodone, Oxycontin, Oxaydo, and Xtampza ER. It is attributed to 8.6% of fatal overdoses in the US in 2017.
#5. Benzodiazepines – 6,647 deaths
Also known as Alprazolam (Xanax), this prescription drug was involved in 9.5% of all overdose deaths in the US in 2017.
#4. Methamphetamine – 9,356 deaths
The number of fatal overdoses involving meth rose 38.4% from 2016 to 2017. More than 12.3% of overdose deaths involved methamphetamine. It is tied to more deaths than any other drug in the Western US.
#3. Cocaine – 14,948 deaths
The number of cocaine-related overdose deaths rose from 17.8% in 2016 to 21.3% in 2017. Mortality rates are significantly higher on the East Coast and the Midwest.
#2. Heroin – 15,982 deaths
Heroin-involved overdose deaths tripled between 2011 and 2016, then remain level during 2017. However, heroin was the second or third most frequently involved in fatal overdoses in 2017.
#1. Fentanyl – 27,299 deaths
Fentanyl is a synthetic prescription opioid used to treat chronic pain. It is often used to lace street drugs such as heroin. It is 50 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl-related overdose deaths rose to 38.9% in 2017. These numbers also include deaths involving Carfentanil, a Fentanyl analog.
It is important to note that many overdose deaths involve multiple drugs. For this reason, it is often difficult to determine specifically which drug may have been responsible for the death.
Regional Differences Among the Most Frequently Abused Drugs
The CDC used the information on death certificates to identify the regional differences in drug overdose deaths and the drugs most frequently involved. They determined that distinct patterns emerged. For instance, the higher rates of deaths involving fentanyl, cocaine, or heroin occurred in the Eastern areas of the US. The higher rates of deaths involving methamphetamine occurred in the Western areas. This information will be helpful in prevention and policy-making efforts.
Article Source: bestdrugrehabilitation