The epidemic of opioid addiction is gradually increasing the number of fatalities with each passing year. Users of opioids have already tripled between the years 2010-2014 alone. Furthermore, studies have shown that cases of opioid overdose happen once every 19 minutes; however, this epidemic is being overshadowed by the United States’ second deadliest drug, Cocaine.
Cocaine is still popular now in the midst of the epidemic. In fact, there is even an increasing number of people are still using cocaine. A recent CDC report took note of the most frequently used drugs involved in overdose deaths in the country. According to the report, heroin and cocaine are at the top.
- Analysis from the U.S. News and World Report has shown that cocaine has become the second most commonly used drug involved in the majority of fatal overdoses.
- Opioids are still notably a lot more lethal than cocaine and are in fact leading by comparison.Heroin has been proven responsible for 10,863 deaths (23.1%) in 2014.
- By contrast, cocaine was responsible for 12.4% of fatal overdose cases or 5,856 deaths.
- Researchers were able to gather data from death certificates of people where medical examiners and coroners were able to rule on the cause of death.
The findings revealed the method was used to provide more in-depth understanding of the involvement of drugs in overdose deaths. The data further showed how the prevalence of heroin deaths has significantly increased, while overdose deaths associated with cocaine remained stable. In 2010, heroin is said to have caused 3,020 deadly overdoses. In 2014, on the other hand, the number tripled to 10,863 deaths. By comparison, cocaine deaths in 2010 were at 4,312 and 5,856 deaths in 2014.
Anti anxiety medications have also seen a sudden increase in deaths with 4,212 cases recorded, while Fentanyl caused 4,200 deaths.
The data moreover revealed that 49% of overdose deaths involved more than one drug so that the numbers coincide with each other. Researchers noted that majority of drug overdose cases in 2014 involved meth but excluded other drugs. However, among deaths involving diazepam and alprazolam, over 95% involved other drugs.
Researchers revealed that the number of overdose deaths overall have increased by 23%, from 38,329 (2010) and rose to 47,055 (2014).
Other drugs apart from opioids have also contributed to the gradual increase in overdose cases. Data confirms that opioids can have a massive impact on the rate of overdose deaths. Researchers even noted that the most frequently involved drugs in overdose deaths are opioids including meth, heroin, oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, and hydrocodone.
The researchers also called for more accurate data of drug overdose deaths to be kept. They noted that a more detailed analysis on the increase in drug overdoses would be more helpful in future studies. They also noted that the report now demonstrated the ability of a new method to be used for abstracting data from a death certificate for the enhancement of national monitoring of overdose deaths caused by drugs. The method also emphasized the need to include certain drugs involved in overdose deaths written on the death certificate.