The drug epidemic continues in America, with recent stats being released around drug overdoses within the country. According to government stats, U.S. heroin users have increased by 135% from 2002, with 404,000 that year to 948,000 in 2016. In fact, heroin overdoses have also had a 533% jump from 2002, with 2,089 that year to over 13,200 in 2016.
It is being reported that America has lost more individuals to drugs in recent years versus the Vietnam War, with 58,000 casualties back then, to 71,600 citizens lost to drug overdoses; this figure being at an all-time high.
CNN reported that these figures were released as part of the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a report spearheaded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Still, there was a silver lining from the findings, with the report revealing that the number around those who abuse and misuse opioids remaining stable since last year. The ‘opioids’ spectrum includes illegal drugs (i.e. street fentanyl and heroin) as well as prescription meds like oxycodone and hydrocodone. The term ‘misusing’ drugs can include using another person’s prescription, consuming a higher dose than prescribed, or buying these meds off the street.
As per the report, about over 11 million U.S. citizens misused opioids last year. Of that number, eight percent used heroin. A large portion of these numbers were around individuals who misused prescription painkillers; not to get high, rather, for pain relief.
Additionally, about 2.1 million individuals had addiction to prescription painkillers or heroin in 2016, a number that has remained quite stable since 2011.
Still, as per the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdoses are the main cause of accidental fatalities in the United States, where drugs are killing more individuals than car accidents or guns.
If fact, the CDC speculates that in 2016 there were over 53,000 overdose fatalities and the organization estimates that could increase to 71,000 this year. Opioids remain the main reason behind these drug deaths, which include illegal drugs as well as prescribed prescription painkillers. In addition, as per the CDC, deaths linked to fentanyl are expected to increase more than double, with last year’s number at 9,945 and a projected 20,145 for this year.