opioids addiction overdose orig nws_00003207.jpg
opioids addiction overdose orig nws_00003207.jpg
Now playing
00:55
Why are opioids so addictive?
PHOTO: Jeremy Moorhead / CNN
Now playing
02:38
Faces of the opioid crisis at White House
Dr. Scott Gottlieb  FDA Chief
PHOTO: CNN
Dr. Scott Gottlieb FDA Chief
Now playing
03:54
FDA chief: Opioids are biggest crisis we face
fentanyl opioids drugs overdose sanjay gupta mobile orig mss_00000000.jpg
fentanyl opioids drugs overdose sanjay gupta mobile orig mss_00000000.jpg
Now playing
00:48
How dangerous is Fentanyl?
PHOTO: Georgia Bureau of Investigation
Now playing
02:08
Deaths from synthetic opioids on the rise
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
00:56
Kellyanne Conway touts opioid funding
Now playing
05:44
How opioid addiction is hurting businesses
orig am animation brain on heroin sanjay gupta_00000029.jpg
orig am animation brain on heroin sanjay gupta_00000029.jpg
Now playing
01:51
This is your brain on heroin
PHOTO: YouTube/mobile uploads
Now playing
01:31
Protesters throw pill bottles in famous museum
louisville heroin overdose first responder orig sm_00003821.jpg
louisville heroin overdose first responder orig sm_00003821.jpg
Now playing
01:55
Struggling to keep up with overdoses
heroin overdose Ron Hiers recovery nccorig_00004526.jpg
heroin overdose Ron Hiers recovery nccorig_00004526.jpg
Now playing
02:52
Heroin addict watches himself hit rock bottom
naloxone rescue video _00014112.jpg
PHOTO: Louise Vincent
naloxone rescue video _00014112.jpg
Now playing
01:55
Video of a Heroin addict being treated after overdosing
inside new hampshire opioid epidemic origwx js_00021324.jpg
inside new hampshire opioid epidemic origwx js_00021324.jpg
Now playing
02:34
Inside New Hampshire's opioid epidemic
Now playing
01:38
CNN's 'Prescription Addiction' town hall in 90 seconds.
ray lucas prescription opioid addiction town hall sot_00002815.jpg
ray lucas prescription opioid addiction town hall sot_00002815.jpg
Now playing
01:31
Former NFLer: I was a functioning addict

Story highlights

There were more than 33,000 opioid deaths in 2015, the CDC says

Increases in were seen in 30 states and the District of Columbia

(CNN) —  

Death rates from synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, increased 72.2% from 2014 to 2015, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. The new report confirms the dramatic increase in opioid overdoses that first responders have been seeing as they respond to overdose calls.

Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin and made headlines as the drug that killed pop star Prince in April. The elephant tranquilizer carfentanil, a form of fentanyl and 10,000 times stronger than morphine, has also been claiming lives in a number of cities, as reported by local officials.

The new report says the latest available data found that 33,091 people died from opioid overdoses in 2015. That number combines prescription and illegal forms of the painkiller that can also send users into a state of euphoria. They account for 63% of the 52,000 deaths from any type of drug overdose in 2015, up from 2014, when 61% of fatal overdoses were due to opioids.

No one is immune to the crisis. The increasing death rates were seen in men and women of all ethnicities and across all age groups, starting at age 15.

Geography is not protective, either. When looking at overdose fatalities from 2010 to 2015, increases were found in 30 states and Washington DC.

During the same period, the number of heroin deaths increased by 20.6%, the report found. Eleven states reported increases in heroin deaths, with South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee seeing the greatest increases.

Synthetic opioid deaths increased in 16 states. New York was hit hardest, with a 135.7% increase from 2014 to 2015. Nearby Connecticut saw a 125.9% increase, and Illinois had a 120% increase in deaths from synthetic opioids.

Deaths from so-called natural opioids, which include the prescription medications morphine and codeine, and semi-synthetic opioids, which include the prescription drugs oxycodone and hydrocodone, decreased 2.6% from 2014 to 2015. However, they are still responsible for more than 12,700 deaths.

Fatalities from methadone, used to treat heroine addiction, dropped by 9.1%.

The new statistics are based on national records for causes of death.

Follow CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter

  • See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

“Today’s report shows significant increases across states in death rates from heroin and synthetic opioid deaths, coupled with continuing high numbers of fatal overdoses related to natural/semi-synthetic opioid deaths,” the CDC said in a statement. The further illustrates “the continued problem with misuse of prescription opioids and the substantial impact of illicit opioids on this epidemic”. The CDC also reiterated the need for law enforcement and health officials to work together to control the epidemic.