HealthDay News — Although the age-adjusted rate for deaths involving opioid analgesics has leveled in recent years, the rate for deaths involving heroin has almost tripled since 2010, U.S. health officials reported.
Between 2000 and 2013, the age-adjusted rate for overdose deaths involving heroin nearly quadrupled, rising from 0.7 to 2.7 deaths per 100,000 Americans, according to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
The CDC researchers found that most of the increase in heroin deaths occurred recently — between 2010 and 2013. During that time, the United States experienced a 37% per year increase in heroin deaths.
While heroin deaths have soared, the death rates related to prescription narcotics have declined slightly, from 5.4 to 5.1 per 100,000 from 2010 to 2013, the CDC said.
The racial and ethnic background of people dying from heroin overdose also has shifted. Blacks aged 45 to 64 years were the group most likely to die from a heroin overdose in 2000. Today, whites aged 18 to 44 years have the highest death rate from heroin abuse. The researchers also found that men were nearly four times as likely as women to die from a heroin overdose.
The CDC reports that the greatest increase in heroin deaths between 2000 and 2013 occurred in the Midwest, which experienced a nearly 11-fold leap in fatal overdoses. The overdose rate quadrupled in the Northeast during that period, as heroin use trickled out of urban areas like Baltimore and New York City into the rural New England states.