Synthetic Opioids Are Primary Driver of Current Opioid Epidemic Interview with:

Dr-Mathew Vinhhoa Kiang

Dr. Kiang

Mathew Vinhhoa Kiang, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Primary Care and Outcomes Research
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, California What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Nationally, opioid-related mortality has continued to climb for decades and resulted in over 42,000 deaths in 2016 — more than the number of deaths from car accidents or firearms. However, there are substantial differences across states and by opioid type. We sought to systematically describe these differences by examining state-level opioid mortality by opioid type. Deaths from synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, are rapidly increasing in the eastern half of the US. Specifically, 28 states have synthetic opioid mortality rates that are more than doubling every two years. Twelve of those states already have high levels of synthetic opioid mortality — above 10 deaths per 100,000. Lastly, the opioid epidemic has reached our nation’s capital — Washington DC has the fastest rate of increase, more than tripling every year, and a high opioid mortality rate.

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