In 2017, there were 23,139 overdoses of deaths with these drugs, which make up nearly a third of the 70,237 fatal overdoses that year, according to the Thursday report.
Between 2015 and 2016, the number of deaths due to cocaine overdoses increased by 52%, while the death rate for psychostimulant-related overdoses increased by 33%. From 2016 to 2017, the fatal overdoses of both types of medicines increased again by about a third. Overdose deaths from these stimulants jumped from 12,122 in 2015 to 17,258 in 2016 – an increase of 42% in just one year.
The report evaluated the death data on drug overdose over age, gender and race and in all US census regions from 2003 to 2017. The report was also analyzed to evaluate drug use patterns in 34 states and the District of Columbia. The researchers discovered that the increase in mortality rates of the stimulants investigated also occurred in all demographic groups and in some states.
The researchers noted that the number of fatal cocaine-related overdoses remained stable from 2003 to 2006 and then declined steadily by around 11% a year until 2012. They noted that the decrease in cocaine-related deaths due to an overdose was a reflection of a decrease in supply and an increase in costs. . From 2012 to 2017, cocaine deaths increased by 29% annually.
Rates of psychostimulant deaths from overdose were stable from 2003 to 2010. Between 2010 and 2017, researchers found that psychostimulant-related mortality rates increased by 29% annually.
The researchers discovered that opioids were also often involved in these fatal overdoses. In 2017, 73% of all cocaine-related deaths from overdose also related to opioids. That same year, half of the psychostimulant-related overdoses with fatal outcome also involved the use of opioids.
To better understand the role that synthetic opioids such as fentanyl have contributed to the use of these drugs, the researchers compared the mortality rates of stimulant-only doses and compared them with the mortality rates of overdoses involving both stimulants and opioids. Although fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are, as it were, a major driver of the increase in cocaine-related deaths between 2012 and 2017, opioids from 2010 to 2017 were not a significant factor in rising psychostimulatory deaths.
Mortality rates from cocaine and synthetic opioid overdoses remained stable from 2003 to 2012 and then increased annually by 114% between 2012 and 2017.
However, the researchers also warned that it is still necessary to monitor the mixed use of synthetic opioids and psychostimulants, as there has been an increase in overdose deaths in recent years involving both classes of drugs. Between 2015 and 2017, the mortality rate in overdose involving both classes of medicines increased by 143% annually.
The researchers noted that preliminary data for 2018 indicate that rising overdose trends will continue in these classes of drugs.