Fentanyl Now the Deadliest Drug in the US

It overtakes heroin on ranking of fatal overdoses
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2018 1:17 PM CST
Fentanyl Now the Deadliest Drug in the US
In this Oct. 22, 2018 file photo, a fentanyl user holds a needle near Kensington and Cambria in Philadelphia.   (David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, File)

Fentanyl killed 18,335 people in the US in 2016—the most of any drug, making the synthetic opioid the deadliest drug in America. Health officials announced the new ranking of overdose deaths from 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, on Wednesday. It's fentanyl's first time atop the list, which had heroin in the No. 1 spot from 2012 to 2015, USA Today reports. Oxycodone held the top spot in 2011. Fentanyl has experienced a disturbingly fast rise, causing just 4% of overdose deaths in 2011—but 29% in 2016. On average, the rate of fentanyl OD deaths increased by 113% per year from 2013 to 2016. Of note, as the Huffington Post reports, is the fact that most OD deaths involved multiple drugs; of the fatal ODs involving fentanyl or heroin, 70% involved at least one other drug as well, and about 40% of cocaine deaths also involved fentanyl. Read on for the top 10 deadliest drugs in the US:

  1. Fentanyl: 18,335 deaths
  2. Heroin: 15,961 deaths
  3. Cocaine: 11,316 deaths
  4. Methamphetamine: 6,762 deaths
  5. Alprazolam: 6,209 deaths
  6. Oxycodone: 6,199 deaths
  7. Morphine: 5,014 deaths
  8. Methadone: 3,493 deaths
  9. Hydrocodone: 3,199 deaths
  10. Diazepam: 2,022 deaths
Click for the full top 15. (Even 'dark web' dealers refuse to sell this drug.)

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