Pa. overdose deaths jumped 23 percent last year

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says fatal overdoses of heroin and other drugs climbed across Pennsylvania last year.

The DEA said 3,383 drug-related overdose deaths were reported in 2015, an increase of 23.4 percent from the 2,742 overdose deaths reported in 2014 when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Pennsylvania eighth-highest in the country for fatal overdoses.

Heroin was the most frequently identified drug in toxicology test results. Nearly 55 percent of overdose cases showed the presence of heroin.

Fentanyl, a drug sometimes mixed with heroin to make it more potent, was the second-most frequently identified drug in overdose cases.

A similar drug, acetyl fentanyl, was identified as a new drug of abuse. While it was present in only four percent of overdose cases last year, it was not included in any
2014 reports.

Central Pennsylvania counties with the highest per capita rates of drug-related overdose deaths were Dauphin, followed by York, Cumberland, and Lancaster.

On The Web: Analysis of Drug-Related Overdose Deaths in Pennsylvania

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