Health care providers across the country are urging people to stop taking opioids and to seek out other treatments, citing evidence that the overdose death toll has spiked dramatically in recent years.
The rise in opioid overdose deaths has been especially steep in states like Florida, where the number of people dying each year is higher than any other state.
But now, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly 4,000 opioid overdose cases in the U.S., more than the total number of deaths from overdoses in the entire year of 2016.
And that’s according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
More:The number of opioid overdose and related deaths has more than tripled in the past decade, from 785,000 deaths in 2013 to 1.5 million deaths in 2016.
“The opioid epidemic is truly unprecedented in the history of this country,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC.
“We have had some big, historic rises in the number and number of new cases, but I don’t think anyone would deny that this is still happening,” Frieden said in an interview.
“There’s not one data point that we can point to where this has changed in any way.
This is a new normal,” Friedan said.
“We have a big epidemic, and we are seeing some of the consequences of that.”
While the rise in overdoses has been a major public health problem, Frieden added that the rise is mostly attributable to people using opioids for pain relief rather than to drugs like heroin.
The CDC released a new analysis of data from 2016 showing that in the first four weeks of the year, the number-one drug used in the United States was heroin.
And heroin use was more common than any of the other drugs.
And the number that was the second most common drug was hydrocodone, which is the active ingredient in painkillers like OxyContin.
In addition to the rise of opioid overdoses, some health care providers are trying to get people to reconsider using other treatments.
“What we know is that we are in a situation where we have to be very careful in how we talk about these medications and the way we talk to patients about them,” said Sarah Ainsworth, a healthcare consultant and chief health officer for the American Hospital Association.
The ACA is a federal law that helps to lower the cost of healthcare by allowing people to keep insurance while receiving needed treatment.
But the health care system is already struggling to cope with the spike in opioid deaths and overdoses.
“One of the biggest challenges for our health care systems is that many of our most vulnerable people are at the very bottom of the socioeconomic ladder,” Ainsandres said.