Heroin, Fentanyl Remain Greatest Drug Threats
The DEA recent released The 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) and there’s both good and bad news.
First, the good news: According to the U.S. health secretary Alex Azar, opioid-related overdoses have begun to level off.
Now the bad news: Heroin, fentanyl and other opioids continue to be the highest drug threat in the nation with methamphetamine and cocaine rising in areas that haven’t historically been hotspots. What’s more, the DEA is worried about the exploitation of marijuana legalization with people trafficking cannabis into the illicit market or to states without medicinal or recreational-use marijuana laws, noted the report.
“This report underscores the scope and magnitude of the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States,” Acting DEA Administrator Uttam Dhillon said in a statement. It also confirmed that the communities are being flooded with heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamines.
Findings from the 2018 NDTA are gathered from federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, and intelligence from other government agencies, such as the CDC, and include:
- In 2016, an average of 174 people died each day from drug poisoning.
- Fatal heroin overdoses rose nationwide between 2015 and 2016, with a nearly 25 percent increase in the Northeast and more than 22 percent in the South.
- Since 2011, drug deaths have outnumbered those by firearms, motor vehicle crashes, suicide or homicide.
- More than 40,000 deaths involved prescriptions including opioids. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl were involved in nearly 20,000 deaths last year. This is the first time that synthetics outpaced heroin as well as cocaine and psychostimulants (amphetamines).
- Admissions to publicly licensed treatment facilities primarily for heroin increased to 401,743 in 2015, from 270,564 in 2010.
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