New Government Report Shows Meth Kills More People In Western Regions Of US

NEW YORK (AP) — Fentanyl is driving drug overdose deaths in the U.S. overall, but in nearly half of the country, it’s a different story. Meth is the bigger killer, a new government report shows.

Nationwide, most deaths still involve opioid drugs like fentanyl and heroin. But in 2017, the stimulant meth was the drug most frequently involved in deaths in four regions that include 19 states west of the Mississippi.

The report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the agency’s first geographic breakdown of deaths by drug. It’s based on 2017 figures when there were more than 70,000 overdose deaths in the U.S., two-thirds of them involving opioids.

Fentanyl was involved in 39% of the deaths that year, followed by heroin, 23%, and cocaine, 21%. Those drugs top the list in the eastern part of the country.

Methamphetamine was No. 4 nationwide, cited in 13% of overdose deaths. But in the four western regions, it was No. 1, at 21% to 38%.

Previous CDC reports have charted meth’s increasing toll, noting that it rose from eighth to fourth in just four years.

The new report found dramatic differences in the 10 regions. For example,

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