The number of Americans dying from accidental overdoses of narcotic painkillers jumped significantly from 1999 to 2011, federal health officials reported Tuesday.
Deaths from overdoses of drugs such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine and oxycodone (Oxycontin) climbed from 1.4 per 100,000 people to 5.4 per 100,000, according to the CDC.
That means about 3,000 people died in 1999 from unintentional overdoses. By 2011, that number was up to nearly 12,000 deaths, the report said.
Despite the rising number of deaths, the rate of the increase has actually slowed since 2006, according to report co-author Dr Holly Hedegaard, an epidemiologist at CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
“Although the rate is still increasing, it is not increasing quite as fast as it did between 2000 and 2006,” Hedegaard said. “From 1999 to 2006, the rate of deaths increased about 18 percent per year, but since 2006 it’s only increasing about 3 percent per year.”
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