Heroin Epidemic Causing More Deaths compared to last records: Study

Heroin Epidemic Causing More Deaths compared to last records: Study

Number of deaths occurring due to heroin overdose has soared significantly over past few years. In 2015, the number of such deaths was reported to be as more than 720, according to statistics released Sunday by the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

In Connecticut, 723 people died due to excessive use of heroin, cocaine or other drugs such as morphine. Among those died, 415 deaths were caused by heroin and 107 by fentanyl, a synthetic opiate. On the other hand, the respective deaths in 2014 were 327 and 37.

"Heroin deaths have increased 27 percent and fentanyl deaths have increased 148 percent from 2014 to 2015, the vast majority of fentanyl intoxications involve illicit [not prescription] fentanyl. Some of the fentanyl we have detected is acetyl-fentanyl, which is an illicit designer fentanyl," said Chief Medical Examiner James Gill said.

If compared with 2012, the number of deaths in 2015 seems even greater. In 2012, 86 deaths were caused by heroin overdose. The total number of deaths has risen from 357 in 2012 to 723 in 2015. On the contrary, cocaine overdose deaths remained almost stable with 105 and 176 in 2012 and 2015 respectively. The chances to die become even greater if heroin in mixed with fentanyl, the fact remains unknown to drug seeker in most of cases.

To tackle with the growing menace, President Barack Obama also announced that he is including $1.1 billion in his next budget to fight the epidemic. This grant will include access to treatment for prescription drug abuse and heroin use and state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs, improve access to Naloxone, and support enforcement activities.

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