Fentanyl now America’s deadliest drug, federal health officials say

Doyle Rice, USA TODAY

Updated: 1:34 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2018

Fentanyl is now the deadliest drug in America, federal health officials announced Wednesday, with over 18,000 overdose deaths in 2016, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

It’s the first time the synthetic opioid has been the nation’s deadliest drug. For the previous four years (2012 to 2015), heroin topped the list.

On average, in each year from 2013 to 2016, the rate of overdose deaths from Fentanyl increased by about 113 percent per year. In fact, the report said that fentanyl was responsible for 29 percent of all overdose deaths in 2016, up from just 4 percent in 2011.

Overall, more than 63,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2016, according to the new report, which was prepared by the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is an average of 174 deaths per day.

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