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Drug Overdose Deaths Spiked Dramatically In 2014

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Surprising new statistics have recently been released showing that drug overdose deaths in the US have risen dramatically over the years, a continuing trend that’s been particularly noticeable since 2013. Researchers have observed a 14 percent rise in drug overdoses over in 2014, where the largest causes of these deaths were heroin and opioids, especially fentanyl. There has been a strong response from both the government and community, with both groups working to find ways to combat the epidemic.

The CDC recently released data on this trend. Not only are the numbers of deaths up by 14 percent, the absolute number has hit 47,000 in 2014 — more than the number of traffic accidents that same year (33,000), according to NBC News.

Not only are the numbers of deaths up by 14%, the absolute number has hit 47,000 in 2014 — more than the number of traffic accidents that same year

It was found that, of all the overdoses, 61 percent could be attributed to two classes of drug. The first was heroin, and the second was a class of pain-killing drugs called opiates. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden concurred, saying “the increasing number of deaths from opioid overdose is alarming.”

Efforts are being put into place to tackle the drug overdose epidemic on multiple fronts. In one way, legal action is being reinforced and reinvigorated. Most of these overdoses occur from illicitly created fentanyl, and so police action could reduce deaths on this front by acting as a deterrent. The communities most affected — who are having problems as members continue to die, leaving grieving families in their wake — are taking action with support programs for addicts, according to Newsweek.

The CDC is also taking action, attempting to draft new legislation that would make it harder for people to gain access to opiate drugs, encouraging other methods of managing pain to be tried first. These laws would not affect terminally ill patients, or patients with campus, leukemia, or other such diseases, but are nonetheless creating hard pushback from doctors, patients, and drug companies alike. Family practitioners are some of the biggest prescribers of these drugs — not specialists.

The study confirms the findings of one made earlier this summer, which noted a rise in prescription drug overdoses.

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