LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/ABC NEWS) – The opioid epidemic continues to worsen in the U.S., with more people dying from heroin overdoses than firearm homicides, melanoma or HIV-related causes, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2015 at least 13,150 people died of heroin overdose, according to the CDC Wonder database, which houses public health data.
That number was higher than the number of people killed in firearm homicides in the same year, which was 12,974, or the number of deaths attributed to HIV, which was 6,465, according to the CDC database. It was also higher than the number of people killed by the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma, which the American Cancer Society estimated caused 9,940 deaths in 2015.
The staggering number of deaths related to heroin use is just a part of the toll of the opioid epidemic. In 2014, 28,000 people died from opioid overdoses — which includes heroin overdoses — and half were due to prescription drugs.
In Fayette County, the coroner’s office says 63 people have died so far this year from heroin-related overdoses compared to 55 in 2015.
Domonique Greene’s mother tells us he died from an overdose after taking a hit of heroin laced with fentanyl. His mother, Kayla Greene, has started the Domonique Jason Green Foundation, Inc. to research and educate individuals in the community about heroin addiction.