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December 19, 2015

Report: Pennsylvania sees spike in overdose deaths

CDC says Commonwealth among 14 states that had significant increase

Pennsylvania is among a number of states that's been plagued by a recent a surge in drug overdose deaths, according to a new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, released Friday, says the Commonwealth had 2,426 overdose deaths in 2013 and 2,732 in 2014, marking a 12.9 percent increase over that period.

The jump means Pennsylvania is one of 14 states categorized by the CDC that saw a significant increase in the sobering statistic.

Most of those states were centered in the Northeast - including Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts - as well as the Midwest and South.

The report used numbers from the National Vital Statistics System, an inter-governmental data hub that tracks public health, and found that 2014 saw more overdose deaths across the United States than any previous year on record.

The alarming rise, which the CDC calls an epidemic in their report, is attributed in large part to opioids, such as certain pain relievers and heroin.

The CDC says since 2000, the country has seen a 200 percent increase in overdose deaths caused by opioids.

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