Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and André Sofair, MD, MPH
The mortality rate from synthetic opioids besides methadone increased 72% between 2014 and 2015 in the U.S., while heroin-related deaths rose 21%, according to an article in MMWR.
Using data from the National Vital Statistics System, researchers found that synthetic opioid (e.g., fentanyl) deaths increased from 1.8 to 3.1 per 100,000 population from 2014 to 2015. Overdose deaths increased across demographic groups and geographic regions. In 2015, 52,000 people died from a drug overdose in the U.S., compared with 47,000 the prior year. Nearly two thirds of these involved an opioid.
The authors call for “continued improvements in guideline-recommended opioid prescribing practices for chronic pain, increased improving access to and use of prescription drug monitoring programs, and increased utilization of nonopioid pain treatments.”