Heroin overdose deaths on the rise

The number of people dying from heroin overdoses doubled between 2010 and 2012.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed recent mortality data from 28 states to determine the scope of an increasing heroin overdose death rate and to determine whether the increase was associated with the a declining opioid pain reliever death rate.

The heroin overdose death rate increased from 1 per 100,000 people in 2010 to 2.1 per 100,000 in 2012, according to the CDC report.

During that same time, the death rate from prescription opioid pain relievers decreased from 6 per 100,000 to 5.6 per 100,000, according to the CDC report.

The heroin overdose death rates increased significantly for both sexes, all age groups, all census regions and nearly all racial/ethnic groups, according to the CDC report.

Opioid deaths declined significantly among males, people younger than 45, people living in the South and non-Hispanic white people, according to the report.

Overall, the rate of drug overdose deaths rose 4.3 percent during the two-year period, according to the CDC.

The 28 states included in the report represent 56 percent of the U.S. population, according to the CDC. Eight states in the West region – Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico – were included in the report.

In the West, the heroin death rate increased from 1.2 per 100,000 in 2010 to 2.3 per 100,000 in 2012. The opioid death rate did not change (7.9 per 100,000).

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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