Drug overdose deaths are on the rise throughout the country, and this doesn’t just mean illegal drugs. Prescription drug overdoses are now the most common cause of accidental death in the United States. In 2016, there were 42,249 deaths caused by opioids. This is five times the rate of deaths in 1999.
Between May 2015 and May 2017, deaths from opiates, methamphetamines and cocaine climbed from 49,000 to 66,000. This is an increase of 35 percent. While drug overdose deaths have remained stable and even decreased in some areas of the West, deaths are on the rise in the Midwest and East. In fact, during that two-year period, Pennsylvania and Florida saw the biggest increases, at 83 and 85 percent, respectively.
Among 44 counties with populations of more than 1 million, Palm Beach was in fourth place with 41.5 deaths per 100,000 people. Broward County was also in the top 10.
On the other end of spectrum, several states saw decreases. In Oregon and Utah, overdose deaths dropped by 3 percent. Wyoming saw the biggest decrease, at 36 percent.
Why Are Some States Seeing Large Drug Overdose Deaths?
Why are some states seeing increases in drug overdose deaths, while others are stable and actually seeing large decreases? It is believed that fentanyl is a factor. Fentanyl is often mixed in with street drugs to increase their potency. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Even the smallest dose can lead to an overdose.
Fentanyl is often mixed in with heroin and other street drugs. In some cases, it is added without the user’s knowledge. There has been some correlation between fentanyl use and overdoses. In states where fentanyl use is low, overdose death rates have not risen much or have even decreased. California and other western states have not been saturated with fentanyl, while states in the Midwest and on the East Coast have been flooded with the deadly drug.
States such as California also have strategies in place to protect drug users and reduce their risk of overdose. For example, the state has needle exchange programs that provide information about avoiding drug overdoses. Naloxone is also available to help drug users reverse the effect of drug overdose.
Many states rely more on law enforcement to reduce the rate of overdose deaths. Florida is one of 25 states that has passed laws to enhance the penalties of selling fentanyl. Drug dealers in the state can now be charged with murder if they sell fentanyl and someone dies as a result.
Let Our Miami Personal Injury Attorneys Help You Today
Doctors and drug manufacturers often push opioid drugs onto consumers. This leads to abuse, addiction to harder drugs and even death.
If you believe a drug manufacturer or other party was responsible for your loved one’s death, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. The Miami, Florida wrongful death lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP can assess your case and determine your rights to compensation. To learn more, give us a call at (305) 371-2692 or visit us online.