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A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows the rate of fatal drug overdoses has more than doubled since 1999. Those between 55 and 64 years of age were the hardest hit. Rates increased for both males and females and increased across all age groups.

The 2015 rate for fatal drug overdoses is higher than deaths from suicides (13.4 deaths per 100,000) car accidents (11.1 deaths per 100,000) and firearms:

Expand chart
Data: Centers for Disease Control; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why this matters: The overall number of opioid overuse deaths quadrupled during the same time period, and in 2015 opioids killed more than 33,000 people — higher than ever before. States that Trump won like West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio were hardest hit by fatal drug overdoses in 2015. Trump held a meeting in Feb. at the White House on how to respond to the opioid epidemic.

A key takeaway: The portion of fatal drug overdoses due to more lethal drugs is increasing, and it coincides with new CDC restrictions on prescribing pain meds (like semisynthetic opioids morphine or oxycodone) issued last year, per STAT. In sum, users had to turn to other drugs, like heroin, to feed their addiction.

  • The portion of fatal overdoses due to heroin tripled from 8 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in 2015
  • The portion due to synthetic opioids (like fentanyl) jumped from 8 percent to 18 percent. This is a big deal because synthetic opioids can be 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin, which puts emergency rooms at risk of running out of antidotes to treat overdoses

Go deeper

Officer who shot Ashli Babbitt during Capitol riot won't face charges

Gary Phaneuf, Tony Naples and Melody Black visit a memorialon Jan. 7 near the Capitol Building for Ashli Babbitt. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Capitol Police officer who fatally shot Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt on Jan. 6 as she joined a pro-Trump mob ransacking the Capitol will not face criminal charges, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.

Driving the news: In their investigation, federal prosecutors were unable to prove that the officer was not acting in self-defense or acting to defend members of Congress.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
21 mins ago - Economy & Business

Coinbase opens at $102 billion valuation on first day of public trading

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase opened trading on Wednesday at $381 per share, giving it a fully diluted market value of around $102 billion.

Why it matters: This is a slight premium to the most recent private trades for Coinbase stock, and more than 50% higher than the reference price set last night by the Nasdaq.

54 mins ago - World

U.S. intelligence expects a stormy year in the Middle East

A technical team explodes remnant ammunition near Sirte, Libya. Photo: Mohammed Ertima/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Ongoing conflicts, economic crises and the fallout from COVID-19 will likely destabilize several countries in the Middle East in 2021 and could even put some on the brink of collapse, according to the U.S. intelligence community's annual Threat Assessment Report, released on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The report is the most comprehensive assessment the intelligence community produces every year. It paints a portrait of conflicts, insurgencies, terrorism and protest movements across the Middle East.