ILLINOIS More than 72,000 Americans died in 2017 from opioid overdoses, according to preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week. The CDC warns that numbers are underestimated due to deaths for which an official cause is still pending.
A New York Times analysis reveals that this figure represents a 10 percent increase in opioid deaths compared to 2016. Overdose deaths were reportedly caused by fentanyl, with CDC estimates in 2017 attributing nearly 30,000 deaths to the synthetic opioid. This is a significant increase compared to 2016, when it was reported that more than 20,000 fentanyl overdose deaths were caused.
The CDC numbers are published every month. The data released this week includes figures for December 201
In Illinois, the number of overdose deaths in 2017 increased by 13.4 percent compared to 2016. The Illinois CDC figures show 2,775 opioid deaths in Illinois in 2017, an increase of 328 overdose deaths compared to 2016. (Get Patched In: Subscribe to Free Daily Email, News Alerts, Facebook Fun and More by Patch)
Massachusetts and Vermont, which were hard hit by the states from the crisis, reports a decline in overdose deaths year on year, the CDC data show. Preliminary data for overdose deaths in the 12-month period, which ends in January 2018, also show a decline in Rhode Island.
Fentanyl is a particularly deadly opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. The CDC says that the large increase in fentanyl-related deaths is likely due to illegal fentanyl being sold on the streets.
At a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, President Donald Trump said he ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to file a federal lawsuit against certain companies that supply and manufacture opioids. Trump said he ordered sessions to file a separate lawsuit rather than join existing lawsuits from states affected by the proliferation of the often lethal drugs with high addictive potential.
It was not immediately clear if or when a federal lawsuit would be filed. In recent months, a flood of suits has been filed nationwide against traders and manufacturers in the midst of the opioid epidemic.
This report was reported by the Associated Press.
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