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Drug overdoses hit record high, latest CDC report says: ‘Grim statistics’

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Drug overdoses reached a new record last year in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Nearly 108,000 people died drug overdoses in 2022, the agency said.

This is a marginal increase from 2021, when 106,669 people died from drug overdoses.

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Overdoses remain the leading cause of death among adults in the country, largely attributable to the synthetic fentanyl. opioid medication.

Over the past two decades, the rate of drug overdose deaths has increased from 8.2 per 100,000 people in 2000 to 32.6 per 100,000 in 2022, according to the CDC.

Drug use

The CDC says overdoses are at an all-time high. (iStock)

The overdose rate increased among men between 2021 and 2022 and decreased slightly among women.

Overdoses increased among adults aged 35 and older between 2021 and 2022, and decreased among those aged 15 to 34.

They were lowest for adults 65 years and over.

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Overall, about 25% of adults ages 12 and older — or more than 70 million people — used illicit drugs in 2022, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“When it comes to the intractable problem of drug addiction, one thing is obviously clear: America has an appetite for drugs, and not enough is being done,” said Dr. David Campbell, clinical and program director from Recover Together in Bend. Oregon, which was not involved in the CDC report, told Fox News Digital.

“It is therefore not surprising that overdoses have become one of the top 10 non-genetic causes of death and a leading contributor to the first decline in life expectancy in the United States in more than two decades .”

A doctor says Americans have an “appetite for drugs” and not enough is being done to protect them. (REUTERS/Nikolay Doychinov (BULGARIA))

While these record rates represent a continuing problem, some industry experts point out that the rate of increase has slowed significantly.

“Despite the grim statistics released today by the CDC, overdose deaths increased at a slower rate in 2022 compared to the previous year,” said Philip Rutherford, chief strategy officer for substance use at the National Council on Mental Wellness, in a statement provided to Fox. Digital News.

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Rutherford was also not involved in the CDC report.

“Hopefully this is an early sign that the upward curve of overdose deaths is flattening,” he added.

What needs to change?

To help reverse the high rate of overdoses, Rutherford stressed the need to drug treatment and recovery support.

“This will require increasing the size of the behavioral health workforce, increasing the number of peer support specialists, and implementing various strategies to provide care across settings,” he said.

Rutherford also called for increasing support for underserved populations and eliminating “care deserts.”

“We strongly urge pharmacies to increase their supply of suboxone,” he said.

“This simple step will significantly increase equitable access to treatment and recovery supports and help communities provide people with the medications for opioid use disorder they need to survive. »

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Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, chief medical officer of American Addiction Centers in Tampa Bay, Florida, also stressed the need to educate about the dangers of hidden substances, such as fentanyl.

“Fentanyl, as well as its analogues and other adulterants, can be mixed with other substances without the user’s knowledge, putting them at a much higher risk of overdose,” he said at Fox News Digital.

rainbow fentanyl pills

The Drug Enforcement Administration office in Houston said it has seized more than 7 million lethal doses of fentanyl in 2022. (US State Department)

“Being aware of this risk may encourage people with substance use disorders to be more attentive and careful.”

Weinstein noted that “harm reduction strategies” – such as the availability of naloxone (Narcan) and needle exchange programs – can help, but he also called for more widespread treatments for drug-related disorders. substance use.

“Fentanyl can be mixed with other substances without the user’s knowledge, putting them at a much higher risk of overdose.”

“Evidence-based treatment can reduce substance use disorders, health problems, and overdose deaths, and longevity and quality of treatment are directly linked to lower mortality rates,” did he declare.

“We should also prioritize medication-assisted treatment to help individuals achieve and maintain sobriety.”

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A lack of mental health resources could also contribute to the problem, Weinstein said.

“Our country must find ways to ensure that the community Mental Health resources more easily accessible through walk-in clinics and telehealth, and to increase the number of providers, particularly in areas most affected by the overdose epidemic,” he told Fox NewsDigital.

Ashley Gibson

Accessibility to walk-in clinics and telehealth doctors can be key to addressing mental health issues, one medical professional said. (Ashley Gibson/Cleveland Clinic)

“Not only are substance use disorders often caused by underlying mental health issues, but the impact of substance use disorders and overdoses on families and communities creates a crisis secondary mental health problem that needs to be addressed before it becomes life-threatening.”

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In the event of an overdose, Weinstein said it’s critical to first call 911, administer naloxone if available, administer rescue breaths if necessary — and stay until help arrives .

“These simple measures could save a life,” he said.

For more health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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