News from the FDA/CDC

Drug overdose deaths declined in 2018


Reported drug overdose deaths in the United States declined by 4.2% from December 2017 to December 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on July 17.

Change in reported drug-overdose deaths, 2017 to 2018

“The latest provisional data on overdose deaths show that America’s united efforts to curb opioid use disorder and addiction are working. Lives are being saved, and we’re beginning to win the fight against this crisis,” Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a written statement. “Under President Trump’s leadership, and thanks to efforts on the ground by communities across America, the number of patients receiving medication-assisted treatment has risen, distribution of overdose-reversing drugs is up, and nationwide opioid prescriptions are down.”

The new data show that total drug overdose deaths were down from 70,699 in 2017 to 67,744 in 2018, a drop of 4.2%, the CDC said.

States, of course, fell on both sides of that national figure. Alaska had the largest 1-year drop, –25.5%, followed by South Dakota, Ohio, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. Delaware and Missouri wound up on the other end of the scale with increases of 17.0% from 2017 to 2018. Deaths in Vermont, Arizona, and South Carolina also rose by double digits, data from the National Vital Statistics System show.

“While the declining trend of overdose deaths is an encouraging sign, by no means have we declared victory against the epidemic or addiction in general,” Secretary Azar said. “This crisis developed over 2 decades and it will not be solved overnight. We also face other emerging threats, like concerning trends in cocaine and methamphetamine overdoses.”

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