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8 graphics that illustrate the US opioid crisis

1. Drug overdose is the leading cause of injury death and kills more people than car crashes. In 2013, 43,982 people died from drug overdoses, while 32,719 died in car crashes.

2. About a quarter of drug overdose deaths in 2014 were attributed to heroin. Heroin overdose deaths have risen sharply in the past few years.

3. Prescription drug overdoses, which accounted for nearly 60 percent of all drug overdose deaths in 2014, are also on the rise.

4. Among prescription drugs, opioid pain relievers have become particularly deadly over the past decade. In 2014, they accounted for 73 percent of prescription drug overdose deaths and 44 percent of all drug overdose deaths.

5. As sales of prescription painkillers have quadrupled since 1999, so have deaths from prescription painkillers.

6. The drug overdose epidemic has hit Massachusetts and other New England states particularly hard.

7. Certain areas of Massachusetts have been hit harder than others.

8. Some deaths have been linked to the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, which has become increasingly common across the US, including in Massachusetts.

Top 10 states by total fentanyl seizures during 2014. Nationally, there were 4,585 such confiscations in 2014, up from just 618 in 2012.
Rank State Number of Fentanyl seizures
1 Ohio 1245
2 Massachusetts 630
3 Pennsylvania 419
4 Maryland 311
5 New Jersey 238
6 Kentucky 232
7 Virginia 222
8 Florida 183
9 New Hampshire 177
10 Indiana 133
SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / National Forensic Laboratory Information System

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @mrochele