Saturday, October 4, 2014


CDC says deaths due to heroin overdoses doubled over two-year period.

Bloomberg News (10/3, Cortez) reports that the number of Americans “dying from heroin overdoses doubled across 28 states in 2012 from 2010,” citing the CDC. The shift has mainly been due to ready access “and rising rates of opioid addiction,” the piece adds. Bloomberg notes that the “unusual analysis” unveiled today by the CDC’s weekly bulletin came in the wake of the agency’s effort to find out “if reports from some states about spikes in heroin use and related deaths since 2010 were part of a larger nationwide trend.” In sheer numbers, there were 3,635 heroin deaths in 2012, compared with 1,779 two years earlier, the piece adds.
        The Washington Times (10/3, Pace) highlights that death rates from heroin rose “in every age cohort, ethnic group (except American Indians/Alaskan Natives) and region of the country.” According to the paper, “men were nearly four times as likely to overdose from heroin as women, and 25- to 34-year-olds had the highest heroin-overdose death rate.” The piece notes that from 2010 to 2012, “the death rate from heroin overdose increased from 1.0 to 2.1 people per 100,000 in the population.”
        According to the AP (10/3, Stobbe), officials have been most concerned about “powerful prescription ‘opioid’ painkillers” such as Vicodin (hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen) and OxyContin (oxycodone). The piece notes that “deaths involving such painkillers continue to be much more common than heroin-related deaths.” However, “while those deaths are leveling off or declining in many parts of the country, heroin-related deaths” jumped between 2010 and 2012 in the 28 states, the AP adds.
        Reuters (10/3) highlights that the shift in the drug use pattern, from prescription painkillers to heroin, raises potentially new problems for public health officials because it suggests more people are resorting to intravenous drug use, which raises the risk of spread of diseases.