Drug Overdose Death Rate Dropped Slightly Last Year

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New government data suggests deaths from drug overdoses decreased slightly between 2017 and 2018, after years of sharp increases, Time reports.

The age-adjusted overdose death rate increased from 6.1 to 21.7 deaths per 100,000 people between 1999 and 2017. That number dropped to an estimated 20.8 deaths per 100,000 for the 12 months ending in the second quarter of 2018, according to preliminary data released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Epidemiologist Dr. Guohua Li of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health said a number of factors likely contributed to the downturn. These include expanded access to naloxone and medication-assisted treatment; substance use prevention programs at the federal, state and local levels; and the federal declaration of a public health emergency related to opioids in 2017.

How to Use Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose and Save Lives

A variety of drugs and drug combinations carry the risk of fatal overdose. Emergency protocol for any suspected overdose includes calling 911. However, in the case of opioids, which includes heroin and prescription pain medications like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet, naloxone (also known by the brand name Narcan) can reverse an overdose, potentially saving a loved one’s life.

How to Respond to Overdose with Naloxone - Narcan

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