Fentanyl overdose deaths in the U.S. have been doubling every year

According to researchers from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, more than 36,000 Americans died with fentanyl in their systems between 2011 and 2016. Of those deaths, 18,335 occurred in 2016 alone. CDC experts used those figures to calculate annual death rates for overdoses involving fentanyl.

According to researchers from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, more than 36,000 Americans died with fentanyl in their systems between 2011 and 2016. Of those deaths, 18,335 occurred in 2016 alone. CDC experts used those figures to calculate annual death rates for overdoses involving fentanyl. After adjusting for age, they found that the death rate from fentanyl is doubling every year. In 2011 and 2012, there were 0.5 drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl for every 100,000 Americans. In 2015, the rate climbed to 2.6 deaths per 100,000, and by 2016, there were 5.9 fentanyl-related deaths for every 100,000 Americans. The rate of fatal overdoses involving fentanyl has increased for Americans of all ages; but by 2014, adults aged 25–34 years had both the highest rate of fatal fentanyl overdoses and the steepest rise in those deaths. Testimony presented last summer by DEA's Paul E. Knierim said that China's 160,000 chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers are some of the major suppliers of illicit fentanyl. The chemicals are combined with heroin, cocaine, and other drugs, and made into counterfeit products, sold on the Internet or on the street as prescription opioids. Knierim said that one kilogram purchased in China for $3,000–$5,000 "can generate upwards of $1.5 million in revenue on the illicit market with the potential of being lethal for 500,000 people."