United States drug overdose deaths surge amid fentanyl scourge

Carfentanil is used to sedate large animals like elephants but it's increasingly finding its way to the illegal drug supply and ending up in the hands of people addicted to opioids

CDC: Drug overdoses hit new high in 2017 | TheHill

The authors of the report say the 2017 numbers may be an underestimate because states' investigations into some overdose deaths may not be complete.

The CDC has confirmed that 2,323 people died in North Carolina from drug overdoses in 2017, but the actual number is estimated to be 2,515 deaths.The latest data from OCME is that 2,547 people died from drug overdoses in 2017. The new report shows this to be true, but the data are preliminary and so incomplete for some states. "Although the Drug Enforcement Administration has a tight control of these controlled substances, accessibility continues to occur".

The number of opioid users has been going up "in most places, but not at this exponential rate", said Brandon Marshall, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health. While the opioid epidemic was originally concentrated in rural, white populations, the death toll is becoming more widespread.

The CDC's 2017 estimate is not a final count.

While none of the people affected by the overdoses crisis in New Haven this week have died and it is still unclear whether fentanyl played a role in the outbreak, the rash of overdoses is a startling reminder that CT is in the midst of a significant substance use crisis, despite ongoing and unified efforts to address it. They differ from the figures reported by the state medical examiner's office earlier this year. That was true in CT as well. Trump has also set up a presidential council to address the problem. Ciccarone said the real number could be as high as 4 million. In New Jersey, they rose 27 percent. Campbell said one of the individuals "may have had the intent of trying to get people addicted to this product thereby starting a chain of clients for themselves".

President Donald Trump has declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency, but stopped short past year of declaring a state of emergency that would've given states access to funding from the federal Disaster Relief Fund.

Harp said the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will provide New Haven with recovery coaches, training, dissemination of naloxone, and funding for a street psychiatrist.

"States in the Western part of the USA have not seen the same kind of increases in drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids", she added, noting that it is more common to see psychostimulants such as methamphetamine involved in drug overdose deaths in states like Oregon, Nevada and Washington.

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