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Larissa Doucette

Heroin deaths increased sharply in at least 28 states from 2010 to 2012, and at least twice as many people died from prescription opioid overdoses, new information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates. The study examined changes in heroin and prescription opioid death rates in 28 states, representing 56% of the population, finding that the number of heroin overdose deaths increased from 1,779 in 2010 to 3,635 in 2012, representing a rate increase of 1.0 to 2.1 per 100,000. The number of opioid pain reliever overdose deaths decreased from 10,427 deaths in 2010 to 9,869 in 2012, representing a rate decrease from 6.0 to 5.6 per 100,000. Previous research has found that approximately three out of four new heroin users report having abused prescription opioids prior to using heroin, notes CDC in a press release. The report recommends increased prevention efforts aimed at reducing all types of opioid abuse, and the continuation of efforts to prevent abuse of opioid pain relievers, which could lead to heroin use. Additional details are available in the CDC’s October 3, 2014 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.