And while the overdose death rate for illicitly-obtained opioids like fentanyl - the drug involved in the death of musician Prince - is skyrocketing (it jumped 73% from 2014 to 2015, according to last year's version of this CDC report), the overdose death rate from many other legal prescription opioids is rising far more slowly (4% over the same period, that report found).
In 2015, the four states with the highest drug overdose death rates were West Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky and OH, the study said. But the rate grew the fastest - an average of 10.5 percent per year from 1999 to 2015 - among adults between 55 and 64 years old.
The overdose rates in several age groups from 25 to 64-years-olds were more than twice that for younger adults in the 15 to 24 year old range.
Drug overdose deaths have almost tripled in the United States since 1999, with whites and middle-aged Americans bearing much of the brunt, a new government report shows.
Four states - West Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky and OH - lead the nation with the highest overdose death rates, the CDC said.
Synthetic opioids, excluding methadone a type of heroin substitute given to addicts receiving treatment, also rose sharply from 7.8 percent of all national drug deaths in 2010, to 18.3 percent by 2015.
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To try to stop overdose deaths, access has been increased to naloxone (Narcan), a drug used to reverse an opioid overdose, Vuolo said.
In 2010, 29% of fatal overdoses involved so-called "natural" and "semisynthetic" opioids (morphine, oxycodone), while only about 12% involved methadone, a "synthetic" opioid. Suppliers cut the substance into heroin batches, increasing the risk of a fatal overdose, reports Fox News. While the number of deaths by unintentional drug overdose has increased tenfold since 1980 and "surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of injury mortality in many states", researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health predict that they will peak at 50,000 annual deaths in 2017 before declining to "a non-epidemic state" of approximately 6,000 deaths in 2035.
Overdose deaths hit middle-aged and white people the hardest, according to USA Today.
Drug overdoses in the US are on the rise, and now one in four of them come from heroin. "There's a really good chance the increase involving heroin has to be involved with fentanyl".
"When you use an elephant tranquilizer on a human, bad things are going to happen", Slovis said, explaining EMS personnel had to double the amount of Narcan they bring with them in the field.