According to the National Vital Statistics Report released by the CDC on Wednesday, oxycodone was responsible for the most overdose deaths in the country in 2011. Then from 2012 to 2015, it was heroin. Now, the newly released numbers from 2016 show fentanyl took the top spot, claiming more than 18,000 lives.
“He was an athlete, he was a quarterback for his high school football team and had lots of injuries, and lots of prescriptions for opioids,” said Justin Phillips of her son Aaron, who died of an overdose from heroin in 2013 at the age of 20.
Phillips has since started the nonprofit Overdose Lifeline, which is dedicated to fight the epidemic.
“They’re putting fentanyl in pretty much anything you purchase off the street,” Phillips said.
According to the study, in 2011 fentanyl claimed just over 1,600 American lives. By 2015, that number was more than 8,000. In 2016, it was more than 18,000.