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Annual surveillance report of drug-related risks and outcomes -- United States, 2017
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    Executive summary -- Results of the 2017 surveillance report -- Technical notes -- References -- Tables -- Figures -- Appendix [supplemental tables]

    Drug overdose deaths in the United States more than tripled from 1999 to 2015. The current epidemic of drug overdoses began in the 1990s, driven by increasing deaths from prescription opioids that paralleled a dramatic increase in the prescribing of such drugs for chronic pain. In 2008, the number of deaths involving prescription opioids exceeded the number of deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. Since 2010, however, the U.S. has also seen sharp increases in deaths from heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine. In addition to deaths, overdoses from drugs both prescription and illicit are responsible for parallel increasing trends in nonfatal emergency department and hospital admissions.

    Morbidity and mortality statistics, however, fail to capture the full extent of the problem with substance use disorders in the United States. Survey data indicate that tens of millions of Americans misuse prescription opioids, sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants. Others use illicit drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Most persons using heroin have had a history of misusing prescription opioids first.

    The problem with misuse of prescription drugs of various kinds is related to high levels of prescribing of such medications. For example, in 2016 prescribers wrote 66.5 opioid and 25.2 sedative prescriptions for every 100 Americans.

    This report is based on data collected from multiple sources. Information on opioid prescribing was obtained from QuintilesIMS Health® Transactional Data Warehouse (TDW) and the Total Patient Tracker (TPT). Information on substance use and misuse were obtained from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Information on nonfatal overdose hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits was obtained from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s (HCUP) National Inpatient Sample (NIS) and Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) 2014 surveys, which are sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Information on mortality was obtained from the National Vital Statistics System’s (NVSS) mortality files through CDC WONDER (Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiology Research).

    Suggested citation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-Related Risks and Outcomes — United States, 2017. Surveillance Special Report 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Published August 31, 2017. Accessed [date] from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/pubs/2017- cdc-drug-surveillance-report. pdf

    2017-cdc-drug-surveillance-report.pdf

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