Drug-poisoning deaths involving heroin have soared since 2000, and most of the increase occurred since 2010, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

From 2010 to 2013, the rate of heroin overdose deaths increased 163% for men, from a rate of 1.6/100,000 population in 2010 to 4.2 in 2013. For women, the death rate increased by 200%, from 0.4/100,000 in 2010 to 1.2/100,000 in 2013. From 2000 to 2010, however, the rate of increase was much slower, with the death rate increasing from 1.1 to 1.6 for men and from 0.2 to 0.4 for women.

The overall rate for heroin overdose from 2000 to 2013 increased from 0.7 to 2.7/100,000. Most of this increase occurred from 2010 to 2013: From 2000 to 2010, the death rate increased to only 1/100,000, a growth rate of 6%, but after 2010, the rate grew by 37% per year, the NCHS reported.

In 2013, non-Hispanic whites aged 18-44 years had the highest heroin poisoning death rate among measured racial/ethnic groups at 7/100,000. In 2000, older, non-Hispanic blacks aged 45-64 years had the highest death rate among the reported racial/ethnic groups at 2/100,000. The death rate for whites aged 18-44 in 2000 was 1.2/100,000, meaning that the death rate increased by 483% from 2000 to 2013. For non-Hispanic blacks aged 45-64, the death rate in 2013 was 4.9, an increase of 145%.

The number of heroin-related overdose deaths climbed in every region of the country from 2000 through 2013. The largest change in heroin overdose by region occurred in the Midwest, where the death rate rose from 0.4/100,000 in 2000 to 4.3 in 2013, an increase of 975%, said the NCHS report, which used data collected by the National Vital Statistics System.

lfranki@frontlinemedcom.com

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