Drug deaths rose 37% in Pennsylvania last year, DEA says

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says drug overdose deaths rose by 37 percent last year across Pennsylvania last year, with some of the largest increases in rural counties.

The DEA's data released Thursday reported 4,642 drug fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2016, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Inquirer reports that prescription or illegal opioids such as heroin were implicated in 85 percent of the deaths, while the DEA says fentanyl was implicated in more deaths than heroin.

Some deaths were attributed to accidents or undetermined causes.

The Inquirer reports the DEA released statewide and southeastern county data only, with more data coming later in June. The data was collected from coroners and district attorneys from across Pennsylvania and compiled by the University of Pittsburgh's School of Pharmacy.

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