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The Opioid Epidemic: Exploring the Data on Overdose Deaths Nationwide from 2000 to 2015July 21, 2017:
The problem of opioid abuse—including heroin and prescription painkillers—has recently received increased attention as the number of deaths from opioid overdoses as increased dramatically and since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared overdoses from prescription painkillers to be an “epidemic.”
- The recent dramatic rise in opioid overdose deaths from heroin and non-heroin opioids is a relatively recent phenomenon compared with overdose deaths from non-heroin opioids. The brief describes the potential causes of the timing of the rise in heroin overdose deaths.
- Opioid overdoses have disproportionately affected non-Hispanic whites and American Indians/Alaska Natives. Both groups have significantly higher rates of opioid overdose deaths compared with the national average and compared with other racial/ethnic groups. Whites had the highest rate of heroin and non-heroin opioid overdose deaths of all groups.
- Rates and sources of opioid overdose deaths differ significantly by urbanicity. People living in large metropolitan areas had the highest rates of heroin overdose deaths, and people living in non-metro areas and small/medium metros had the highest rates of overdose deaths from non-heroin opioids.
Click here to access the full brief and to access a companion brief exploring state variation in opioid overdose deaths.