CHICAGO (Reuters) – The opioid crisis is rippling through the U.S. healthcare system, causing a spike in rates of hepatitis C related to increased opioid injections and reducing overall life expectancy among Americans, which has fallen for the second year in a row, U.S. health officials said on Thursday.
The news comes through a series of reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which showed that a total of 63,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, up 21 percent from 2015. Opioid-related overdoses surged 28 percent, killing 42,249 people, mostly in the 25-to-54 age group.
“The escalating growth of opioid deaths is downright frightening – and it’s getting worse,” John Auerbach, chief executive officer of the public health advocacy group Trust for America’s Health, said in a statement.
The increase largely stemmed from the continued escalation of deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, which jumped to 19,410 in 2016 from 9,580 in 2015 and 5,540 in 2014, according to a TFAH analysis of the report.