As the wave of heroin and prescription opioid use sweeps across the US,
leaving an ever-growing pile of bodies behind, the folks at the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention are digging into the data. In a new report on the 2014 numbers, they rank the drugs most often reported in overdose fatalities.
That report put the number of drug overdose deaths that year at 47,055,
jumping 23% in four years. Heroin and prescription opioids accounted for
61%, but the use of the stimulants cocaine and methamphetamine also
killed thousands, and a few thousand more died from benzodiazepines such
as Xanax (alprazolam) and Valium (diazepam).
[The CDC just released 2015 overdose death figures,
and they show more of the same. Overall overdose deaths jumped another
5,000 to more than 52,000, with heroin and prescription opioids
accounting for 63%. But this latest report doesn't provide a breakdown
on deaths by drug categories like the report on 2014 does.]