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Heroin overdose deaths spike nationwide

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by: Jacqueline Fell, Cox Media Group Washington News Bureau

WASHINGTON – The number of people dying from heroin overdoses has tripled since 2010, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

In 2015, more than 52,000 people died from drug overdoses.

Overdose deaths involving fentanyl and tramadol also increased, according to data from 2015, which is the latest year available.

Katherine Gallagher Robbins with the Center for American Progress said the impact of the epidemic stretches past those who are struggling with addiction, with dire consequences for families, communities and the economy.

“It’s in every corner of this country,” Robbins said. “We need to think of this and all drug addiction as a public health crisis.”

According to the report, the four states with the highest drug overdose rates in 2015 were West Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky and Ohio.

Robbins said rural communities are hardest hit.

Deaths increased in all age groups, with adults aged 45 to 54 having the highest drug overdose death rate.

Deaths also increased across all races and ethnicities.

President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail addicts would get the services they need.

Robbins criticized GOP priorities laid out so far this year that she said could do more harm than good.

“I think if we don’t address things now we are looking at some really dark things coming in the future,” Robbins said.

The data in the report shows fewer people died in 2015 from taking powerful and addictive opioid drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone.

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