Drug-related deaths are rising in the United States.
The United States is currently in the midst of an alarming opioid epidemic. Substance abuse, particularly opioid abuse, has become one of the most pressing public health concerns in the United States. Drug-related deaths have even reduced the overall lifespan in the U.S.
A CDC report revealed that 2016 had the highest number of deaths tied to alcohol, drugs, and suicide in U.S. history: 142,000 people. In 2016, these deaths increased at a record pace of 11%, representing over 14,000 deaths more than the previous year. It was the second consecutive year this number increased exponentially. Drug-related deaths increased across all races, genders, and geographic areas.
Over the past decade, the rate of alcohol-related deaths has increased by more than 40%. Deaths from synthetic opioids like Fentanyl approximately doubled from 2015 to 2016, from 9,600 to 19,400. Deaths due to other substances, including heroin, cocaine, prescription opioids, and stimulants also increased.
In 2016, drug overdoses killed more than 63,000 Americans; two-thirds of these deaths involved opioids. Deaths due to synthetic opioids, such as Fentanyl, are considered the driving force behind this rapid increase. Fentanyl is often mixed into heroin, cocaine, and counterfeit opioid and benzodiazepine pills because it increases the potency of these drugs.