More than 47,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2014, setting a new record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Drug overdoses increased 6.5 percent from 2013.
The states with the highest overdose death rates were West Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Ohio, Reuters reports. Deaths from opioids, including painkillers and heroin, accounted for 61 percent of overdose deaths in 2014. Opioid deaths increased 14 percent from the previous year. Deaths involving illicitly made fentanyl, a potent opioid often added to or sold as heroin, also are increasing, the CDC noted.
“The increasing number of deaths from opioid overdose is alarming,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement. “The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities.”