“Overdose deaths from both prescription opioids and heroin increased in 2011, the most recent year available, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While prescription opioid deaths followed a more than decade long trend and increased by about 2% from 2010 to 2011, to 16,917; heroin deaths jumped by about 44% in the same span of time to 4,397.
Officials with the CDC said the increase in heroin deaths may be partly due to users having less access to prescription opioids and switching to the illicit drug.
Leonard Paulozzi, a physician and researcher with the CDC, said about 75% of heroin users say they started out by using prescription opioids.
Paulozzi said doctors need to do a better of job of screening for opioid abusers by checking prescription drug monitoring programs in their states for patients who are doctor shopping and using urine screens to detect if they are using illicit drugs.”
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – July 2, 2014