Surge in opioid overdoses fuels decrease in life expectancy

Drug overdose deaths soared last year, fueled by heroin in addition to synthetic opioids, reducing life expectancy for the second year in a row, according to two fresh reports.

Last year, 63,0 people died through drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics. The age-adjusted overdose death rate rose 21 percent, to 19.8 per 100,000 in 2016 through 16.3 per 100,000 in 2015.

The data suggests the epidemic, which has already ravaged countless communities, is usually becoming even deadlier. Reports have chronicled how potent synthetics such as fentanyl are becoming more common — in addition to more dangerous.

Overdose deaths involving non-methadone synthetic opioids doubled last year, surpassing those in which involved only heroin. The rates were 6.2 percent in addition to 4.9 percent, respectively. However, those numbers are not perfectly comparable because there’s overlap between them. Someone having a combination of drugs in their systems could be placed in both categories.

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