CDC: Opioids driving up U.S. drug overdoses

More than 72,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017, up nearly seven percent from 2016, according to preliminary numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Driving those numbers is the rise of opioid addiction and lethal levels of fentanyl.

“People just have that myth that addiction is about illicit drugs, those are bad people, so they don't look at a prescription drug as something you can become addicted to,” says Stacie Allphin, director of program services at Memorial Hermann's Prevention and Recovery Center.

“We've had more deaths involving opioid drugs in 2015, which is when the last surveys and stats were in, than we've had since 2002.”

Allphin describes what she calls a disturbing trend of opioid abuse locally.

“Texas is among the highest for 12 to 17-year-olds,” she says. “It's the lowest for 18 to 25-year-olds, and we're exactly in the middle for 26 and older.”

 Allphin urges parents to watch for both behavioral changes in their teens, especially if they dropout of sports or music, change friends and clothing.

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