The drug overdose crisis is showing no signs of slowing down.
A new study from the CDC found that, in 2015, the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States was more than 2.5 times the rate in 1999. The rate in 2015 was 16.3 deaths per 100,000, while the rate in 1999 was only 6.1.
All age and ethnic groups experienced a growth in overdose deaths. The greatest increase from 1999 to 2015 occurred among adults aged 55 to 64, from 4.2 to 21.8 per 100,000. However, adults aged 45-54 consistently had the highest rates with 30 deaths per 100,000 in 2015.
Non-Hispanic white persons had the highest age-adjusted rate of overdose deaths with 21.1 per 100,000. Between 1999 and 2015, the rate of overdose deaths affecting Non-Hispanic white persons increased by an average of 7% per year, from 6.2 to 21.1 per 100,000.
The hardest hit states were West Virginia (41.5 per 100,000), New Hampshire (34.3), Kentucky (29.9), and Ohio (29.9).
The opioid crisis is having a significant effect on overdose deaths. The report found that overdose deaths involving heroin more than tripled from 8% in 2010 to 25% in 2015. While overdose deaths involving methadone decreased from 12% to 6% from 2010 to 2015, overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (like fentanyl and tramadol) rose from 8% to 18% in the same period.