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Fentanyl Deaths Have Increased Dramatically, a New CDC Study Shows

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Between 2011 and 2016, drug overdose deaths in the United States involving the synthetic opioid fentanyl dramatically increased, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The number of annual drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl was stable at 1,663 in 2011 and 1,615 in 2012. The rate began to rise in 2013, and reached 18,335 by the end of 2016.

The study identifies trends in drug overdose deaths among various demographic groups by sex, age, race and ethnicity, and geographic location. The rate was similar for males and females until 2013, when the number of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl for males began to increase at a higher rate than for females. Young adults aged 25 to 34 saw the highest average annual percent change of any age group and experienced the highest number of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl. The rate of death was greater among non-Hispanic white people than Hispanic people and non-Hispanic black people, while the racial and ethnic group that saw the highest rate increase was non-Hispanic blacks. The geographic area that saw the greatest increase was New England.

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