December 2016…

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just released grim statistics surrounding overdose deaths in 2015. Below is a summary of the data collected from the CDC WONDER database:

  • According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids rose from 28,647 in 2014 to 33,091 in 2015.
  • Heroin overdose deaths rose from 10,574 in 2014 to 12,990 in 2015, an increase of 23 percent.
  • Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone rose from 5,544 in 2014 to 9,580 in 2015, an increase of 73 percent. This category of opioids is dominated by fentanyl-related overdoses, and recent research indicates the fentanyl involved in these deaths is illicitly manufactured, not from medications containing fentanyl.
  • Taken together, 19,885 Americans lost their lives in 2015 to deaths involving primarily illicit opioids: heroin, synthetic opioids other than methadone (e.g., fentanyl), or a mixture of the two.
  • Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids, excluding the category predominated by illicit fentanyl, rose only slightly from 16,941 in 2014 to 17,536 in 2015, a 4% increase.

These troubling statistics illustrate that the problem is far from over. It’s important for us to remember, as Barbara Allen mentioned at the 2015 FED UP! Rally, everyone one of these numbers is a name and every name is a human being, not a statistic. Each person lost echoes pain and grief of a family, a friend, a colleague. Now, more than ever, we must rally supporters to demand smart legislation, raise awareness, and at the very least drive a decline in deaths resulting from this national crisis. For those that lost someone, we stand with you.