72,000 died from drug overdoses in 2017, 42,000 from opioids — CDC

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In addition to the three New England states, overdose deaths fell in Wyoming (minus 33 percent), Utah (minus 12 percent), Oklahoma (minus 9 percent), Montana (minus 8 percent), South Dakota (minus 8 percent), Hawaii (minus 5 percent), Kansas (minus 2 percent), MS (minus 2 percent), New Mexico (minus 2 percent) and North Dakota (minus 1 percent).

Although the use of prescription painkillers has declined nationwide, analysts say the presence of the deadly opioid fentanyl in the illicit drug supply is the primary cause for the continued surge in deaths.

The CDC has confirmed that 2,323 people died in North Carolina from drug overdoses in 2017, but the actual number is estimated to be 2,515 deaths.The latest data from OCME is that 2,547 people died from drug overdoses in 2017.

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When describing deaths involving specific drugs, "a single death might be included in more than one category", Rossen and lead author Farida B. Ahmad, of the Division of Vital Statistics at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, noted in the report.

The lowest number of overdose deaths due to cocaine, 4,312 in 2010, rose to a preliminary count of 14,556 in 2017, a 3.5-fold increase, the report also said. Final mortality figures are typically released at the end of the following calendar year. As a result, provisional estimates of drug overdose deaths are reported 6 months after the date of death. Once again the highest rates were seen in West Virginia, with 58.7 overdose deaths for every 100,000 residents.

The report found that workers in occupations with higher rates of work-related injuries had higher rates of opioid overdose deaths. Nebraska had the nation's highest percentage increase at about 33 percent, but the numbers are significantly smaller with 152 deaths. Both Vermont and MA had fewer deaths in that time period. Now, deaths are more widespread and the toll differs by state.

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The number of drug overdose deaths in North Carolina surged 22.5 percent a year ago, the second highest increase in the country. Particularly significant were the decreases seen in Vermont and MA, two states with relatively high rates of overdose mortality.

Analysts attributed the spike in overdose deaths to more Americans using opioids and the heightened prevalence of more potent synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, according toThe New York Times.

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