Fentanyl Is The Most Dangerous Drug In America
According to the CDC and CNN’s, Nadia Kounang, Fentanyl has become the deadliest drug in America. As of right now, it is the drug that is most commonly associated with overdoses. In a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistic, overdoses involving synthetic opioids are steadily growing and have gone up 113% each year.
Between 2011 and 2016, the total number of recorded overdoses jumped up by 54%– with 63,332 deaths.
Beyond that, according to CDC’s report on Wednesday, 29% of all overdose deaths between 2011 and 2016 were a result of fentanyl. However, back in 2011, fentanyl only accounted for 4% of all overdoses and oxycodone represented 13%.
Between the years 2012 and 2015, heroin was the most frequently used drug that resulted in deaths by overdose with fentanyl involved in ⅓ of them. Fast forward to 2016, and ⅖ of all cocaine-related overdoses also involved fentanyl. Even with meth-related overdoses, heroin was involved in 20% of them.
In 2016, alone, fentanyl resulted in 18,000 overdose deaths. However, heroin also resulted in 16,000 overdose deaths.
Experts in the field point towards the overprescription of prescription painkillers as the root cause of the increased opioid crisis in America– suggesting it was first a heroin crisis, but now has developed into a full-blown fentanyl epidemic.
However, between 2011 and 2016, overdoses in methadone saw a reduction.
According to Dr. Andrew Kolodney, co-founder of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, strongly cautioned against interpretations that would suggest the prescription drug problem is ending. Beyond that, he pointed to states, such as Oklahoma, that still have prescription drug overdoses that heavily outnumber heroin and fentanyl. Kolodney said, “Fentanyl is so deadly, in the geographic regions where it’s been flooding in, deaths soared like we’ve never seen before.”
While most of the drug overdose crisis has revolved around opioids, there’s been a steady increase for cocaine and methamphetamine-related deaths as well.
In the six-year timeframe we discussed above, cocaine was consistently ranked as the second or third most deadly drug while methamphetamine overdose deaths tripled.
Between 2014 and 2016, cocaine-related deaths doubled from 5,892 to 11,316.
The authors of the study evaluated death certificates to look for the mention of certain drugs. In the last six years, they found that the top 10 most dangerous drugs in America remained the same and within the same three classifications.
- Opioids: fentanyl, heroin, methadone, oxycodone, morphine, and hydrocodone.
- Benzodiazepines: alprazolam and diazepam.
- Stimulants: cocaine and methamphetamines.
Nevertheless, the study concluded that fentanyl and heroin were the leading causes of unintentional overdoses within the US. However, prescription medications were discovered to be much more likely in suicidal overdoses.