Deadly fentanyl overdoses increase by 1,000 percent, according to CDC report
LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB, March 25, 2019) — A new CDC report on fentanyl shows fatal overdoses skyrocketed 1,000 percent in a six-year span.
The numbers tell a disturbing story from 2011 through 2016.
“It doesn't surprise me at all, unfortunately,” said Dr. Alex Wright with Norton Healthcare. “It just happens to get in the community, and people get what they can get.”
Wright has been with Norton for about nine years, and he's seen it all.
“Over that time, cases of opiate-related illness, whether that be overdoses or infections, have been skyrocketing every year,” he said.
When data was first being collected by the CDC, the United States saw about 1,600 deadly fentanyl overdoses in 2011. In 2013, it began to rise to just under 2,000. Fast forward to 2016, and the U.S. saw more than 18,000 fentanyl deaths.
“They end up getting something they're not really used to, and they overdose pretty quickly, because fentanyl is so much more potent than a lot of the other opiates,” Wright said.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid.
Wright has personally been impacted by the opioid epidemic. A few months ago, he lost a family member to an overdose.
“I've known that cousin since he was born, and I knew he was a good person. So it's not about being bad or good. It's about an addiction,” he said. “They are patients. They have a disease. The disease is the addiction.”
The age group hardest hit by the rise in overdoses were among younger adults 15 to 34 years old.
“We don't treat them as bad people," Wright said. "They're people that have addictions, and because of that, they've had some bad choices associated with that.”
To view the full report CDC report click here.
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