Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights the start of the third wave of the nation’s opioid epidemic (Source: “Fentanyl-Linked Deaths: The U.S. Opioid Epidemic’s Third Wave Begins,” National Public Radio, March 21, 2019).
- Men are dying after opioid overdoses at nearly three times the rate of women in the United States
- Overdose deaths are increasing faster among Black and Latino Americans than among Whites
- There’s an especially steep rise in the number of young adults ages 25 to 34 whose death certificates include some version of the drug fentanyl.
The first wave of the addiction epidemic was prescription pain medications, such as OxyContin; then heroin, which replaced pills when they became too expensive; and now fentanyl.
The highest rates of fentanyl-involved overdose deaths were found in New England, according to the study, followed by states in the Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest. But fentanyl deaths barely increased in the West — including in Hawaii and Alaska — as of the end of 2016. Researchers have no firm explanations for these geographic differences.