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

Drug Addiction
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
U.S. Dentists Prescribe 37 Times More Opioids Than in England: StudyMore Than 600,000 Opioid Abusers Raising Kids in U.S.Dispensing Opioid Antidote Without a Prescription Might Save LivesNot Just Opioids: Deaths Tied to Cocaine, Meth Are Soaring, TooMany Drivers Testing Positive for Marijuana, Even With Kids in CarAnother Cost of the Opioid Epidemic: Billions of Dollars in Lost TaxesNurse Practitioners Often Restricted From Prescribing Opioid TreatmentsOpioid Overuse Can Lower Hormones to Harmful LevelsVets Who Get Opioids From VA, Medicare at Higher Overdose RiskAHA News: Opioid Crisis Brings Concerns About Heart DangersAnother Side Effect of the Opioid Crisis: Heart InfectionsU.S. Deaths From Suicide, Substance Abuse Reach Record HighOpioid Overdose Deaths Quadruple, Centered in 8 StatesKratom-Related Poisonings Are Soaring, Study FindsFDA Fell Short in Preventing Fentanyl Abuse Crisis, Report ClaimsMore Car Crashes Tied to Drivers High on OpioidsInsurers Making It Harder to Treat Opioid Addiction: StudyMeth Abuse Driving Big Spike in Syphilis CasesPoor Whites Bear the Brunt of U.S. Opioid Crisis, Studies FindOpioid OD Deaths Are Saving Lives Through TransplantationMaking OxyContin 'Tamper Proof' Helped Spread Hepatitis CAHA: Marijuana, Cocaine May Play Role in Young Americans' Rising Stroke RateAnother Opioid Scourge: Infection-Related StrokesOpioid Danger to Newborns Varies By RegionAs More Smoke Pot, Are Their Jobs at Risk?Big Pharma's Marketing to Docs Helped Trigger Opioid Crisis: StudyMore Americans Mixing Opioids With SedativesOpioids Now More Deadly for Americans Than Traffic AccidentsFatal Drug ODs Soaring Among Middle-Aged Women: CDCPostpartum Opioid Rx May Lead to Persistent Use: StudyOpioid Overdose Deaths Triple Among Teens, KidsMore Evidence That Abuse of Xanax, Valium Is on the RiseCould Pot Harm Men's Sperm?Opioids May Help Chronic Pain, But Not MuchFentanyl Now the No. 1 Opioid OD KillerNew Approach to Opioid Crisis: Supervised Heroin Injection Programs?Opioids Plus Other Drugs a Deadly Mix for Heavy UsersEven Wisdom Tooth Removal May Spur Opioid AddictionMeth, Opioid Use in Pregnancy on the RiseOpioids Increasingly Tied to Deaths of Pregnant WomenMany Drugstores Won't Dispense Opioid Antidote as RequiredAHA: Meth Use Producing Younger, Harder-to-Treat Heart Failure PatientsOver 2 Million Americans Have Hepatitis C; Opioids Help Drive SpreadMany Young Drug Abusers Not Tested for Hepatitis C, Study FindsCoffee Shop Workers on Front Lines of Opioid CrisisReports Warn of Growing Opioid Crisis Among Seniors'No Documented Reason' for 1 in 3 Outpatient Opioid Rxs: StudyStates Struggle With Onslaught of Opioid OD DeathsU.S. Deaths From Suicide, Drugs Surpass DiabetesDoctors Write Fewer Opioid Scripts After Learning of Overdose Death
Links

Not Just Opioids: Deaths Tied to Cocaine, Meth Are Soaring, Too

HealthDay News
by By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: May 2nd 2019

new article illustration

THURSDAY, May 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- As the United States battles an ongoing epidemic of opioid abuse and deaths, new data shows that fatalities tied to cocaine and methamphetamines are also surging.

In fact, of the more than 70,000 lives lost to drug overdoses in 2017, "nearly a third involved cocaine, psychostimulants or both," reports a team led by researcher Mbabazi Kariisa, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Psychostimulants include drugs such as methamphetamines (meth), the "club drug" MDMA, Ritalin, and even caffeine.

National vital statistics data on causes of death found that in 2017, 1 in 5 drug overdose deaths (nearly 14,000 cases) involved cocaine, representing "a 34.4% increase from 2016," Kariisa and colleagues reported.

Similarly, nearly 15% of all fatal drug ODs for 2017 (about 10,000 cases) involved psychostimulants, a jump upwards of 37% over the previous year.

These numbers reflect a recent, troubling trend: The CDC team noted that between 2015 and 2016, rates of drug overdose deaths involving cocaine, psychostimulants or both had already risen by 42.4%.

Why have coke, meth and the like become even more deadly? According to the researchers, in many cases, deaths also involved the use of opioids, including super-potent drugs such as fentanyl.

"Nearly three-quarters of cocaine-involved deaths in 2017 also involved opioids," they reported, as did about half of deaths involving psychostimulants such as meth. Synthetic opioids -- fentanyl, most prominently -- often played a key and deadly role.

An emergency physician on the front line of the drug overdose epidemic wasn't surprised by the numbers.

"While much attention continues to focus on addressing opioid abuse and misuse, it's vital that we don't ignore the dangers that cocaine and other psychostimulants present," said Dr. Robert Glatter, who practices at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

In many cases, drug abusers may not even know that the substances they are using are laced with fentanyl or other drugs, he added. The trend "could be partly related to people unaware of the tainted product they were using," Glatter said.

But even used alone, cocaine raises a person's odds for death, he said.

"Cocaine use elevates blood pressure, weakens the heart muscle, promotes formation of plaque in the coronary arteries, thereby increasing the risk of heart attack," Glatter explained. "It also may precipitate a stroke by virtue of its effects on plaque formation in blood vessels that supply the brain."

The CDC team found that some demographics are being hit harder by the resurgence of cocaine and psychostimulant abuse than others.

When it comes to gender and age, the upward trend in fatalities was most pronounced for young women aged 15 to 24, although young men were similarly affected. Cocaine-related deaths were most common in the Midwest, while the West had the highest rate of fatal overdoses involving psychostimulants, the CDC researchers said.

The data suggests an increasingly complex "poly-substance landscape" of drug abuse across America, Kariisa's group said.

"Drug overdoses continue to evolve along with emerging threats, changes in the drug supply, mixing of substances with or without the user's knowledge, and poly-substance abuse," they wrote. More can and must be done to provide addicts with "tailored and effective prevention and response strategies" to help curb these trends, the researchers said.

The new report was published in the May 3 issue of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

More information

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