- Title: Drug overdose now leading cause of death for Americans under 50 - Justice Dept.
- Date: 6th June 2017
- Summary: MIDDLETOWN, OHIO, UNITED STATES (FILE) (REUTERS) AMBULANCE PASSING BY
- Embargoed: 20th June 2017 19:11
- Keywords: Rod Rosenstein death overdose drug opiod fentanyl
- Location: ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA/MIDDLETOWN, OHIO/LAWRENCE, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES; UNKNOWN LOCATION,
- City: ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA/MIDDLETOWN, OHIO/LAWRENCE, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES; UNKNOWN LOCATION,
- Country: USA
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA0076K55SG7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said on Tuesday (June 6).
"We are not talking about a slight increase. There is a horrifying surge in drug overdoses," Rosenstein said at a joint news conference with Drug Enforcement Agency officials.
In 2015, 52,000 died from drug overdoses, according to the U.S. Justice Department. More than half of those deaths, involved the use of heroin, fentanyl and other opioid drugs. Early numbers for 2016 show the numbers of deaths attributed to drug overdose rose to 60,000.
Fentanyl is a synthetic pain medication, which is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine, and has been used increasingly as a recreational drug.
Exposure to the drug presents both a risk to users and first responders, Rosenstein said citing multiple examples of police officers coming in contact with the power form of the drug at a crime scene and requiring immediate medical attention.
On Tuesday, the DEA released new guides designed to help first responders and law enforcement limit their exposure to the drug.
The equivalent of a few grains of salt of Fentanyl can be lethal, explained Rosenstein.
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