Dr. Cerveny’s tragedy: one of many

In 2016, an estimated 64,000 deaths occurred in the United States due to drug overdoses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This is double the number reported a decade ago. For cocaine overdoses specifically, the number of deaths from this drug have increased almost twice as much, too, accounting for about one-eighth of the total drug-related deaths nationwide in 2015. According to the Center for Disease Control, cocaine-related deaths have been increasing each year since 2012, and in 2015, there were almost 7,000 nationally reported. For that year, as well, cocaine was found to be the second most common cause of death in Florida.

These numbers display the grim reality facing American society today, and while government agencies are continuing to crack down on smugglers and distributors, individual citizens have the power to enact change, no matter how small. If you know someone who abuses cocaine or any other harmful drug, don’t be afraid to act.