CDC: Fentanyl is deadliest drug in America

Fentanyl has become the most deadly drug in the U.S., according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC said in a report released Wednesday that fentanyl was involved in more deadly drug overdoses in 2016, the most recently studied year, than any other drug.

There were a total of 63,632 drug overdose deaths in 2016, with fentanyl found to be involved in nearly 29 percent of those cases, according to the report.

By comparison, fentanyl was involved in only 4 percent of all drug fatalities in 2011. That year, oxycodone ranked first, involving 13 percent of all fatal overdoses.

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Lawmakers are struggling to deal with a sweeping opioid epidemic, and the CDC data shows that the problem goes further than overprescription of drugs.

From 2011 to 2016, cocaine consistently ranked second or third. During the study period, the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving heroin more than tripled, as did the rate of drug overdose deaths involving methamphetamine.

Heroin was involved in 25 percent of all overdose deaths in 2016 while methamphetamine was involved in over 10 percent, according to the CDC.

The study, which analyzed death certificates for drug overdose deaths, found that the 10 most frequently mentioned drugs were often found in combination with each other. For example, nearly one third of fentanyl-related deaths involved fentanyl in combination with heroin.

In addition, more than one third of the overdose deaths involving cocaine also mentioned heroin, the CDC found.

The study also found that illegal drugs like fentanyl and heroin were the leading causes of unintentional overdoses, and prescription drugs were more likely to be involved in suicide overdoses.