Fatal Heroin Overdoses Have Risen Fivefold Since 2002

bags of heroin

Fatal heroin overdoses have risen fivefold from 2002 to 2016, according to a new government report. Last year, an estimated 13,219 Americans died of a heroin overdose.

The number of people who used heroin in the United States rose from 404,000 in 2002 to 948,000 in 2016, CNN reports.

An estimated 11.8 million Americans misused an opioid last year. Of those, only 8 percent used heroin. The majority misused prescription painkillers, the article notes.

According to the findings, from the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21 percent of Americans 12 and older with an opioid use disorder received treatment for their illicit drug use at a specialty facility in the past year. Receipt of treatment for illicit drug use at a specialty facility was higher among people with a heroin use disorder (37.5 percent) than among those with a prescription pain reliever use disorder (17.5 percent).

Heroin, Fentanyl & Other Opioids: From Understanding to Action

Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Deaths from heroin increased 328% between 2010 and 2015, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are now seeing a sharp rise as well. More Americans die from drug overdoses than in car crashes, and this increasing trend is driven by Rx painkillers.

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