Deaths from drug overdoses have surged across the US to record levels – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nationwide overdose deaths last year exceeded 47,000 – more than the number of people killed in car accidents and up 7% from the previous year.
CDC director Tom Frieden said the rise in overdoses related to opioid use – up 14% from 2014 – was particularly concerning.
‘The increasing number of deaths from opioid overdose is alarming’ he said.
‘The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities’.
Overdose deaths are up in both men and women – in non-Hispanic whites and blacks and in adults of nearly all ages the report said.
West Virginia – New Mexico – New Hampshire- Kentucky and Ohio had the highest overdose death rates.
In West Virginia the overdose rate was 35.5 per 100,000; the national rate was about 15 per 100,000.