CDC data show opioid deaths dropped 4.6% overall during a 12-month period that encompassed 2017 and 2018, but there was an 11.1% increase in opioid deaths related to illicitly manufactured fentanyl.
In addition, there was a decrease in prescription opioid deaths not involving illicit opioids and illicit synthetic opioids
Benzodiazepines, cocaine or methamphetamine were present in 62.6% of opioid deaths, researchers said.
The data from July to December 2017 to January to June 2018 and from 25 states and the District of Columbia, were reported in MMWR.
The authors did not specify if the new numbers could represent a turning point in the opioid crisis. Prior to the report, the CDC had attributed an average of 130 deaths a day to the epidemic.
Researchers offered some ways to move trends in opioid-related deaths in a positive direction.
CDC data show opioid deaths dropped 4.6% overall, but there was an 11.1% increase in opioid deaths related to illicitly manufactured fentanyl.
“Efforts to prevent illicitly manufactured fentanyl-involved deaths and address polysubstance misuse with opioids must be enhanced," R. Matt Gladden, PhD, behavioral scientist with the CDC’s Prescription Drug Overdose Surveillance Team Division, and colleagues wrot Key interventions include broadening outreach to groups at high risk for illicitly manufactured fentanyl or fentanyl analog exposure and overdose. Improving linkage to and engagement in risk-reduction services and evidence-based treatment for persons with opioid and other substance use disorders with attention to polysubstance use or misuse is also needed."
The new data were released in advance of International Overdose Awareness Day, a worldwide event held every Aug. 31. The CDC said the day “aims to raise awareness that overdose death is preventable and to reduce the stigma associated with drug-related death.” – by Janel Miller
Reference : CDC.gov. “Understanding the epidemic.” https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html. Accessed August 29, 2019.
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.