Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Red Cross Needs Type O Blood to Ease ShortageLess Pain, More Car Crashes: Legalized Marijuana a Mixed BagPolitical Controversies Could Fuel Bullying of LGBT Youth: StudyCBD -- It's Everywhere, But Does It Work?Brief EMS Training Saves Lives After Brain InjuryU.S. Improves Emergency Readiness, but Gaps PersistSlowing Climate Change Could Cut Health Costs, Save MoneyDispensing Opioid Antidote Without a Prescription Might Save LivesNot Just Opioids: Deaths Tied to Cocaine, Meth Are Soaring, TooMost Americans Hit Hard by Medical BillsYour Virtual Doctor Will 'See' You NowHigh Measles Rates Mean Kids, Adults Need Proper Vaccination: CDCMany Drivers Testing Positive for Marijuana, Even With Kids in CarMedicaid Could Save $2.6 Billion a Year With Dip in SmokingFDA Halts All Sales of Pelvic Mesh Products Tied to Injuries in WomenAnother Cost of the Opioid Epidemic: Billions of Dollars in Lost TaxesHealth Tip: Using an AEDNurse Practitioners Often Restricted From Prescribing Opioid TreatmentsForested Counties Have Lower Medicare Costs, Study FindsSimple CPR Doubles Survival OddsUninsured Get Short Shrift on Hospital StaysSpecial Bag Helps Patients Get Rid of Unused OpioidsHealth Tip: Responsibilities of Non-VaccinationDo Doctors Hounded by Malpractice Claims Just Shift Their Practice Elsewhere?Bans on Texting While Behind the Wheel Making Roads SaferColorado Sees Spike in ER Visits After Pot Made LegalMajor Medical Groups Call for Soda TaxesCould the U.S. Mail Deliver Better Colon Cancer Screening Rates?Opioid Rxs Decreasing, But Not for All DoctorsAfter Chinese Infant Gene-Editing Scandal, U.S. Health Officials Join Call for a BanAre 'Inactive' Ingredients in Your Drugs Really So Harmless?Need to Be Vaccinated? Try Your Local PharmacyBystanders Key to Cutting Cardiac Arrest DeathsMany Black Americans Live in Trauma Care 'Deserts'FDA Issues Asbestos Warning About Some Claire's Cosmetic ProductsFDA to Crack Down on Retailers That Keep Selling Tobacco to KidsBlood Donation by Teen Girls May Raise Anemia RiskNurses' Long Hours, Moonlighting Could Pose Patient Safety RiskBerkeley's Efforts Suggest Soda Taxes Do Cut Soda SalesOpioid Overdose Deaths Quadruple, Centered in 8 StatesPayments for Research Can Lead to Lies: StudyFDA Aims to Strengthen Sunscreen RulesAre Primary Care Doctors Prepared to Discuss Cancer Treatment?FDA Fell Short in Preventing Fentanyl Abuse Crisis, Report ClaimsPrimary Care Doctors Help Boost Life Spans, But More Are NeededMore Car Crashes Tied to Drivers High on OpioidsPoor Whites Bear the Brunt of U.S. Opioid Crisis, Studies FindFDA to Tighten Oversight of SupplementsAs U.S. Measles Outbreaks Spread, Why Does 'Anti-Vax' Movement Persist?Even Brief EMS Delay Can Cost Lives After Car Crash
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Opioid Overdose Deaths Quadruple, Centered in 8 States

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Feb 22nd 2019

new article illustration

FRIDAY, Feb. 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled in the last two decades, and the highest rates are now seen in eight Eastern states, a new study shows.

Those states are: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire and Ohio.

The researchers also found that the death rate from opioids has increased the fastest in the District of Columbia, more than tripling every year since 2013, and that opioid death rates in Florida and Pennsylvania were doubling every two years.

"Although opioid-related mortality has been stereotyped as a rural, low-income phenomenon concentrated among Appalachian or Midwestern states, it has spread rapidly, particularly among the Eastern states," the researchers wrote.

The analysis of data from the U.S. Census and the National Center for Health Statistics suggests that the opioid overdose epidemic has evolved as three waves.

The first wave, from the 1990s until about 2010, was associated with prescription opioid painkillers (such as OxyContin). The second wave, from 2010 until recently, was associated with a large increase in heroin-related deaths. The third and current wave, which began around 2013, involves a rapid increase in deaths associated with synthetic opioids, such as tramadol (Ultram) and fentanyl.

It's likely that synthetic opioids have also contaminated the production process of illegal drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamines, and is no longer limited to heroin, said study author Mathew Kiang, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University.

"People aren't aware their drugs are laced and more potent than they expected, putting them at higher risk of overdose," Kiang explained in a university news release.

The researchers also found that opioid overdose deaths are occurring in a wider range of people, and there have been significant increases in opioid overdose deaths among black Americans.

The 26 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths among blacks between 2016 and 2017 is the largest increase among any racial group, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new study was published online Feb. 22 in JAMA Network Open.

"The identification and characterization of opioid 'hot spots' -- in terms of both high mortality rates and increasing trends in mortality -- may allow for better-targeted policies that address the current state of the epidemic and the needs of the population," Kiang and his colleagues reported.

The study authors noted that states are trying to tackle the opioid crisis through policies such as restricting the supply of prescription opioid painkillers and expanding treatment and access to the opioid overdose-reversing drug naloxone (Narcan).

"Treating opioid use disorder should be our top priority to curb the problem," Kiang said. "Similarly, we have the ability to counteract the effects of an overdose. These lifesaving drugs should be easily accessible and widely available."

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about the opioid overdose crisis.