New numbers released Wednesday show drug overdoses are causing premature deaths across the country.
The 2017 County Health Rankings show the sharpest uptick in deaths is among people between the ages of 15 and 44.
In 2015, the leading cause of death among 25-to-44 year olds was drug overdose, the report says. There was a sharp uptick in the suburbs with drug overdoses increasing by 5.4 percent, climbing to highest rate in a decade. Premature deaths due to drug overdoses were highest among whites and Native Americans.
Many overdoses are caused by opiates like Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin, and the introduction to these can begin with legitimate prescriptions for these painkillers from a doctor.
View 2015 Overdose Deaths in DMV in a full screen map
Thursday on News4 at 5 p.m., Doreen Gentzler will report on a local dentist offering alternatives to treat pain and keep children away from narcotics.