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Cocaine deaths up in U.S. and opioids are a big part of it

NBC News logo NBC News 5/2/2019 Associated Press
Image: Cocaine © Jose Azel Image: Cocaine

U.S. health officials say cocaine overdose deaths have been rising.

Drug overdose deaths involving cocaine began rising around 2012, and jumped 34 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to a report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Thursday.

The increase at least partly reflects trends in deaths from heroin, fentanyl and other opioid drugs. Many overdose deaths involve someone who took several different drugs, and researchers found that nearly three-quarters of the deaths involving cocaine in 2017 also involved opioids.

However, the study found cocaine deaths were up even when opioids were not involved.

Health officials say about 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017. Nearly 14,000 involved cocaine, and nearly 48,000 involved some type of opioid.

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