According to the Trust for America's Health and the Well Being Trust, data from 2018, the most recent dataset available, shows that opioid overdose deaths declined. The same data shows that deaths involving alcohol, synthetic opioids, suicide, and other drugs rose.
According to the researchers, over 150,000 Americans died from drugs, alcohol, and suicide combined in 2018. That's a death rate of 46.4 deaths per 100,000, a rate largely unchanged from the year before.
The CDC reports that deaths involving prescription opioids were down 13.5% in 2018. Heroin-related deaths dropped by approximately 4%.
Sadly, fatal overdoses involving synthetic opioids rose 10% during the period. Overdose deaths from synthetics rose among men and women of virtually all races, aged 25 and older.
According to HealthDay:
"In 2018, the United States recorded more than 67,000 opioid overdose deaths. Eleven states and the District of Columbia saw their numbers decrease, the CDC reported.
Synthetic opioids were involved in 31,335 overdose deaths in 2018, nearly half of all drug overdose deaths that year. Illicitly made drugs like fentanyl likely drove the increase, researcher Nana Wilson and her colleagues at the CDC reported."
Offsetting the drop in opioid deaths, was a rise of four percent in deaths tied to alcohol abuse and suicides. Alcohol death rates were highest among middle-aged adults, men in particular, and Americans living in rural areas or out West. Men living in rural areas also had the highest levels of death by suicide.
So, is the battle over?
But some small progress is being made – in part because the medical community has awakened to the harm it has done by prescribing opioids so aggressively for more than a decade.
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