As prescription opioids and illegal heroin rise further in popularity, the number of drug overdoses in the state hit a new high in 2014, according to new estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 4,500 Californians died following drug poisoning in 2014, up by 1,500, or 50 percent, from 2002. The age adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths rose almost 30 percent during the same period.
Far more Californians die from drug poisoning each year than die in car accidents. More than twice as many Californians die of drug overdoses than are murdered.
According to the CDC, "Opioids, primarily prescription pain relievers and heroin, are the main drugs associated with overdose deaths. In 2014, opioids were involved in 28,647 deaths, or 61 percent of all drug overdose deaths" nationwide.
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Drug overdose deaths are most common in far Northern California. These two maps show age-adjusted drug-poisoning death rates in California in 2002 and in 2014, according to the CDC.