Americans Urged to Dispose of Unused Rx This Weekend


With 174 Americans dying every day from drug overdoses, Addiction Policy Forum is urging everyone to clean out their medicine cabinets when they turn the clocks ahead this Sunday. The organization is promoting the safe disposal of unused prescription drugs by giving away disposal kits at events across the country and online. For a list of events and to order a free disposal kit, visit According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly one-third of people ages 12 and over who used drugs for the first time began by using a prescription drug for non-medical reasons. Over 11.5 million Americans misused prescription painkillers in the last year1 and every day 2,000 teenagers misuse prescription drugs for the first time.2  The addiction epidemic is currently impacting more than 21 million American families. "Everyone can do their part by getting rid of unused prescription drugs in a safe way....

Continue reading
  1399 Hits

Deaths From Drugs, Alcohol and Suicide Reach New Peaks in Communities of Color


Deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide—known as “deaths of despair”—are increasing among blacks, Latinos and Asians, according to a new report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Well Being Trust. While drug overdoses were still highest among whites in 2016, there were disproportionately large increases in drug deaths among racial/ethnic minority groups, particularly among black Americans, the study found. In the previous decade, blacks had relatively low drug overdose rates — averaging 35 percent lower than whites between 2006 and 2015, NBC News reports. However, between 2015 and 2016, blacks experienced an alarming increase — of 39 percent — in drug-related deaths. That year, drug deaths increased 24 percent among Latinos and 19 percent among whites.

  1449 Hits

Black Americans Hard Hit by Drug Overdoses in Urban Counties


Drug overdoses are on the rise among black Americans, especially in urban counties where fentanyl has become pervasive. The New York Times reports the drug death rate is rising steeply among blacks ages 45 to 64. The findings come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which analyzed racial and geographic data. The CDC found drug deaths among blacks in urban counties increased 41 percent in 2016, faster than any other racial or ethnic group. In contrast, the drug death rate among whites in those same counties rose 19 percent. The emergence of fentanyl in Washington, D.C. led the rate of drug deaths to double in a single year, the article notes. Drug deaths have also dramatically increased in cities including St. Louis, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Jacksonville, Fla.

  1495 Hits

Drug Overdose Deaths Continue to Climb: CDC


The rate of drug overdose deaths continues to increase in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The death rate for drug overdoses reached 19.9 cases per 100,000 people last summer, compared with 16.7 per 100,000 the previous summer, HealthDay reports. The CDC also found an increase in drug overdose deaths for the 12-month period ending in September 2016, compared with the same period a year before—18.5 overdose deaths per 100,000, up from 16.1 deaths per 100,000. Of the 52,404 overdose deaths in 2015, the CDC found 33,091 involved opioids. Prescription or synthetic opioid pain relievers were involved in more than two-thirds of opioid-related overdose deaths.

  2170 Hits

Alcohol-Related Deaths are Rising. Will New State Rules Help?


The reduction in underage drinking and drunken driving accidents among young people is a great public health achievement in the United States. But data suggest that among people who are middle age, another problem involving excess drinking has been quietly brewing, as an alarming number of Americans are dying younger than The rise was driven by drug overdoses and suicides, but also by alcohol poisoning, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. A 2015 study found that the trend began among people ages 45 to 54 in 1999 and continued through 2013, resulting in an increase of 134 deaths per 100,000 people. When it comes to tackling alcohol misuse in middle age, the route for public health strategists has been unclear. Part of the dilemma is that, unlike opioids such as heroin, alcohol is a legal product that studies suggest can contribute to better heart health. Calls for restricting access to alcohol through...

Continue reading
  2139 Hits

The Opioid Epidemic May Be Even Deadlier Than We Think


The opioid epidemic has led to the deadliest drug crisis in US history – even deadlier than the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s. Drug overdoses now cause more deaths than gun violence and car crashes. They even caused more deaths in 2015 than HIV/AIDS did at the height of the epidemic in 1995. A new study suggests that we may be underestimating the death toll of the opioid epidemic and current drug crisis. The study, conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), looked at 1,676 deaths in Minnesota’s Unexplained Death surveillance system (UNEX) from 2006 – 2015. The system is meant to refer cases with no clear cause of death to further testing and analysis. In total, 59 of the UNEX deaths, or about 3.5 percent, were linked to opioids. But more than half of these opioid-linked deaths didn’t show up in Minnesota’s official...

Continue reading
  2712 Hits

Drug Overdoses in Suburban Areas Leads to Many Premature Deaths

Drug Overdoses in Suburban Areas Leads to Many Premature Deaths

A surge in drug overdoses in suburban areas is largely responsible for a rise in premature deaths among adults ages 25-44 in 2015, according to a new report. The findings come from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which compared counties within each state on more than 30 health-influencing factors such as education, jobs, and housing. Drug deaths are also increasing among 15- to 24-year-olds, but almost three times as many people in this age group die by homicide, suicide or in motor vehicle crashes, USA Today reports. A decade ago, suburbs had the lowest rate of premature deaths due to drug overdoses, but now they have the highest, the researchers said. “Smaller metro and rural counties also have higher rates of premature death due to drug overdoses,” the researchers noted in a news release.

  2700 Hits

Rise in Drug Overdoses Contributes to Increase in Premature Deaths Among Whites

Rise in Drug Overdoses Contributes to Increase in Premature Deaths Among Whites

A new study finds premature death rates in the United States have risen among whites and American Indians/Alaskan Natives. A significant jump in drug overdoses is the primary reason for the increase, HealthDay reports. The study, published in The Lancet, also found increases in suicides and liver disease contributed to the increase in premature deaths among these groups. Researchers studied death certificate data from 1999 to 2014. They found death rates increased as much as 5 percent annually for 25- to 30-year-old whites and American Indians/Alaska Natives. In a news release, lead author Meredith Shiels said, “The results of our study suggest that in addition to continued efforts against cancer, heart disease and HIV, there is an urgent need for aggressive actions targeting emerging causes of death, namely drug overdoses, suicide and liver disease.”

  2249 Hits

K2 Overdoses in Downtown St. Louis

K2 Overdoses in Downtown St. Louis

Almost two dozen people were treated for synthetic drug overdoses in downtown St. Louis recently, KTVI reports. Most of the overdoses were linked to K2. “One of the challenges in treating these overdoses with the synthetic is first of all, the Narcan we use on regular heroin or opioid-based drugs does not work,” St. Louis Fire Department Captain Garon Mosby said. He noted many of the overdose victims were homeless. “One of the challenges for our medics upon arriving is determining that what they are treating is indeed a synthetic overdose,” he noted. “A lot of times the patient will have a seizure. We respond to seizures, but it could be induced by this synthetic drug. We’re treating higher body temperatures, hyperthermia is very common. And the patients seem to be very combative.”

  2259 Hits

Fatal Drug Overdoses Play a Role in Rise in Accidental Deaths

Fatal Drug Overdoses Play a Role in Rise in Accidental Deaths

The rate of accidental deaths in the United States is rising, fueled in part by the opioid painkiller and heroin epidemic, according to a new report by the National Safety Council. The report found poisonings, largely from drug overdoses and prescription opioids, are the leading cause of preventable death among adults ages 25 to 64. More than 136,000 people died accidentally in the United States in 2014, the highest number ever recorded, NPR reports. The accidental death rate increased 4.2 percent from the previous year and 57 percent since 1992. More than 42,000 people died from overdose and accidental poisoning in 2014—quadruple the number of poisoning deaths in 1998. In contrast, motor vehicle crashes killed 35,398 in 2014—22 percent fewer than a decade ago. In 1980, more than 53,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Deaths from falls, such as slipping on a kitchen or bathroom floor, also have increased significantly...

Continue reading
  3080 Hits