New estimates from the Centers for Disease Control show that about 72,000 (197 per day) Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017, a marked increase from the 66,000 (180 per day) drug overdose deaths in 2016, and 54,000 in 2015 (148 per day). Two factors are thought to have contributed to this overall rise in deaths: an increase in illegal narcotic drug potency and a greater number of opioid users.
The increased potency can be attributed to the mixture of strong synthetic opioids such as fentanyl with illicit drugs such as methamphetamines, heroin, and cocaine. Fentanyl is being smuggled into the U.S. in record amounts from China and Mexico mainly because of the ease of transportation and potential for profit (one kilo of fentanyl has a street value of nearly $1 million). The unmetered addition of these high-potency synthetic opioids can result in “deadly batches” that can overwhelm even experienced drug users. While it may be easy to dismiss this problem as only affecting illicit drug users, according to the National Institute for Health, nearly 80% of Americans using heroin (including those in treatment) reported misusing prescription opioids first.
While the overall number of drug overdoses have increased, there is hope that new public policies are helping slow the crisis. States such as Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island, which have all implemented major public health campaigns, have seen a decrease in the number of drug overdoses.
This preliminary information reinforces our belief that education and prevention are a critical component in resolving the Opioid Crisis and further demonstrates that the work we are doing at ProveIt! is critically important and having a positive impact!
Read more here: New York Times Article
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