52,404 Americans died of preventable drug overdoses in 2015, an 11% increase over 2015 according to a report released December 16, 2016 by the Centers for Disease Control.
The death rate from synthetic opiates rose a chilling 73%.
Overdose deaths now far outstrip car crash fatalities (37,757) and gun deaths (36,252).
Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015
Connecticut ranked 11th in the Nation for drug overdose death rate, an 11.6 % increase over 2014.
Connecticut had the 2nd highest heroin death rate in the nation (Ohio was number 1. West Virginia 3).
We also saw the 2nd highest increase (125%) in the nation (New York had the highest) in synthetic opiate deaths.
And we already know, the numbers for 2016 will be worse based on data from the first six months of the year.
In Hartford, drug overdoses will kill three times as many people this year as guns.
What can we in EMS do?
Educate ourselves to the origins of the epidemic and the disease of substance use.
Share our overdose data with health and public safety organizations.
Partner with community organizations on harm reductions efforts, including distribution of Narcan, clean needles, and prevention and rehabilitation information.
We are at the overdose scenes and with users who are vulnerable. Those who have had one opiate overdose are at a substantially higher risk of having a fatal overdose. We are truly on the front lines of this epidemic. We will not get through to everyone, but everyone that we do get through to is a potential life saved.