Drug overdose deaths hit record numbers in 2014

CDC image U.S. deaths from drug overdoses hit a record high in 2014, propelled by abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The total number of drug overdoses increased 6.5 percent in 2014 from a year earlier, killing more than 47,000 people. The highest rates of death from overdose were seen in West Virginia (35.5 deaths per 100,000), New Mexico (27.3), New Hampshire (26.2), Kentucky (24.7), and Ohio (24.6).

Opioid overdose deaths, including both opioid pain relievers and heroin, accounted for 61 percent of overdose deaths and increased 14 percent in just one year, the CDC said.

“The increasing number of deaths from opioid overdose is alarming,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities. To curb these trends and save lives, we must help prevent addiction and provide support and treatment to those who suffer from opioid use disorders.”

Since 2000, overall deaths from drug overdoses have increased 137 percent, while those from opioids have jumped 200 percent, the CDC said. More than half a million people in the United States have died from drug overdoses since 2000, according to the CDC.

To read the full CDC “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,” please click here.