Wednesday July 18, 2018

US Opioid Crisis : Deaths in 2016 from Drug Overdose ‘Highest in American History’, Says US Attorney General

Sessions said President Donald Trump's campaign pledge to end the opioid crisis remains a priority for his administration

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DRUG OVERDOSE
A bag of 4-fluoroisobutyrylfentanyl, which was seized in a drug arrest, is displayed at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Testing and Research Laboratory in Sterling, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)(VOA)
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Washington, September 22, 2017 : U.S. deaths from drug overdose set a record of more than 64,000 in 2016, driven by an intractable opioid crisis, U.S. Attorney General said Thursday, citing preliminary government data.

Provisional data released last month by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) showed that there were 64,070 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2016, up 21 percent from 52,898 the year before.

The NCHS is an arm of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 2016 estimate “would be the highest drug death toll and the fastest increase in that death toll in American history,” Sessions said. “And every day this crisis continues to grow, as more than 5,000 Americans abuse painkillers for the first time.”

Opioids such as heroin and the synthetic drug fentanyl were responsible for most of the fatal overdoses, killing more than 33,000 Americans — quadruple the number from 20 years ago.

drug overdose
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington (VOA)

“More Americans died of drug overdose than died from car crashes or died from AIDS at the height of the AIDS epidemic,” Sessions said. “For Americans under the age of 50, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death.”

Sessions spoke at an event in Charleston, West Virginia, a state with the highest drug overdose rate in the country. In 2015, West Virginia reported more than 41 overdose deaths per 100,000 people, compared with a national average of 16 per 100,000, according to NCHS data.

Sessions said President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to end the opioid crisis remains a priority for his administration.

“I believe that the department’s new resources and new efforts will bring more criminals to justice, and ultimately save lives,” Sessions said. “And I’m convinced this is a winnable war.”

In March, Trump named New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a former presidential candidate, to head the newly formed President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

Last month, the commission urged the administration to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.

“With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks,” the commission said in an interim report.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said that no declaration was necessary to combat the crisis, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said Trump was taking the idea “absolutely seriously.” (VOA)

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Opioid Use Linked To Increased Risk of Falls, Death In Older Adults

Opioid use may increase risk of falls, death in elderly

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The researchers describe 'Ankrd16' as
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Older adults who use opioids for pain relief may be at an increased risk of falling as well as deaths, according to researchers.

Falls are a leading cause of injury and death in older adults. However, evidence for a link between opioid use and falls is inconsistent, the researcher said.

The findings showed that patients with opioid intake were 2.4 times more likely to have a fall causing injury.

“The study confirms an association between recent opioid use and fall-related injury in a large trauma population of older adults,” said Raoul Daoust from the Universite de Montreal in Quebec, Canada.

Patients whose falls were linked to opioid use were also more likely to die during their hospital stay, the researchers said.

Representational image for elders.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Physicians should be aware that prescribing opioids to older patients is not only associated with an increased risk of falls but also if these patients do fall, a higher in-hospital mortality rate,” Daoust noted.

The study, published in the journal CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), included data on 67,929 patients aged 65 and older who were admitted for injury to one of 57 trauma centres.

Also Read: Drinking Water Boosts Mental Skills in Elders Who Exercise

The mean age of patients was 81 years, and the majority, 69 per cent, were women.

Falls were the most common cause of injury (92 per cent of patients), and more than half (59 per cent) had surgery for their injuries, with lengthy hospital stays (median stay of 12 days).  IANS