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Drug Overdose Deaths Have More Than Doubled in U.S.: CDC

Drug overdose deaths in the United States more than doubled over the past decade, U.S. health officials announced in a report released Tuesday, though deaths in Texas were significantly lower compared to much of the rest of the country.

*Age-adjusted drug poisoning deaths were 13 for every 100,000 people nationally. Texas was significantly lower than that number at 9.8 per 100,000 people.

Deaths from drug poisoning linked to opioid analgesics (such as morphine, oxycodone and methadon) and heroin have jumped to 41,502 in 2012 from 16,849 back in 1999, according to the report compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Heroin-related deaths more than tripled to 5,925 in 2012 from 1,960 in 1999. The report also stated that of the 2012 drug-related deaths, 16,007 involved opioid analgesics. 

Between 1999 and 2012, the age-adjusted drug-poisoning death rate nationwide also increased, from 6.1 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 13.1 in 2012.

"By comparison, there were 27,762 alcohol-related deaths in 2012, according to the report.
Another 40,600 people died from suicide, 36,415 from motor vehicle accidents, 33,563 from firearms and 16,688 from assaults. The biggest killer by far was heart disease at 599,711 deaths.”

There were also 14 states that had age-adjusted drug-poisoning death rates above the national average, according to the report. The states with the highest rates per 100,000 population were West Virginia (32.0), Kentucky (25.0), New Mexico (24.7), Utah (23.1), and Nevada (21.0).  

Click here to see the full report

*According to the CDC, age adjustment is a technique for "removing" the effects of age from crude rates so as to allow meaningful comparisons across populations with different underlying age structures. For example, comparing the crude rate of heart disease in Florida with that of California is misleading, because the relatively older population in Florida leads to a higher crude death rate, even if the age-specific rates of heart disease in Florida and California were the same. For such a comparison, age-adjusted rates are preferable.

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