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Cheaper, Deadly Heroin Behind Spike in Overdoses in Last 5 Years

Update Date: Feb 27, 2017 07:10 AM EST

The number of fatalities due to heroin overdose in the United States has been recorded to have quadrupled due to the recent drop in prices of heroin products matching to an increase in its potency. Due to this, underlying issues on such causes are further being exploited by health departments.

According to NBC News, a total of 12,989 heroin overdose death due to heroin were recorded in 2015. As per the National Center for Health Statistics, five years earlier, deaths due to heroin overdose was around 3,036. The study conducted by an Atlanta-based center was based on data gathered from death certificate data and underlying causes were not keenly examined.

Another study, this time by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that the declining price for heroin and the increase in potency included in its production is causing more people to use it, thus, increasing the risks of heroin overdose and abuse of the substance. In fact, several states in the United States are experiencing opioid and heroin crises.

Meanwhile, CNN reveals that other medications such as oxycodone also contributed to the number of drug overdose in the United States. This drug is used as a powerful narcotic pain reliever used to address moderate to severe pain. It is often given in an extended-release formula for patients who needs pain medications for a long period.

Breaking, chewing, crushing, and dissolving extended-release tablets may cause the oxycodone to rush into the system that can lead into serious health problems, overdose, and death.

Heroin cost as little as one-tenth compared to prescription polls. Opioid painkiller users will 40 times most likely take heroin as well. With the increase in heroin overdose rates, fatalities linked to prescription drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone fell to 24 percent in 2015 compared to 28% five years-ago.

States in the US with the highest number of overdose death due to heroin include West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and New Hampshire. Those under the 55 to 64 age group saw the largest percentage in heroin increased use.

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