Feds say heroin, fentanyl remain biggest drug threat to US

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says drug overdose deaths hit the highest level ever recorded in the United States last year.

A DEA report obtained by The Associated Press shows heroin, fentanyl (FEHN’-tuh-nihl) and other opioids continue to be the highest drug threat in the nation. The National Drug Threat Assessment was released Friday.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar (AY’-zahr) said last month that overdose deaths were rising very slowly and were beginning to level off. But he cautioned it is too soon to declare victory.

Preliminary figures show about 72,000 people died in 2017 from drug overdoses across the United States.

The report says federal officials are concerned that methamphetamine and cocaine are being seen at much higher levels in areas that haven’t historically been hotspots for those drugs.

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This story has been corrected to show 72,000 deaths were for drugs overall, not specifically opioids, and to show Azar spoke last month, not this month.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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