Drug overdose deaths are on the rise across all genders, demographics and geographic areas, according to a new CDC report.
A total of 63,632 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2016 — a 21.5% increase over the 2015 total, according to the report. The researchers attribute this sharp uptick in deaths to the fatalities involving potent synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which doubled in 2016.
The report drew on data from 31 states, plus Washington, D.C. Of these, 21 saw increases in synthetic opioid overdose deaths, and 10 saw those rates double. New Hampshire, West Virginia and Massachusetts were particularly hard-hit by synthetic opioids, the report says.
From 2015-2016, deaths related to cocaine, psychostimulants, heroin and prescription opioids rose by 52.4%, 33.3%, 19.5% and 10.6%, respectively. But the report notes that these drugs are often laced with fentanyl as well, which likely contributes to skyrocketing casualty rates.
While nearly every demographic experienced an increase in drug overdose death rates, the report says men between ages 25 and 44 saw the most drastic increase.
Substance abuse, particularly related to opioids, has become one of the most pressing public health issues in the U.S., leading President Donald Trump to declare it a public health emergency in October. Drug overdose deaths have even chipped away at the U.S. lifespan, according to September report.