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Overdose Deaths Rose by 21 Percent in 2016, What Can we Expect for 2018?

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention Released Its Annual Report in October 2017

According to an annual report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in October 2017, drug overdose deaths rose by 21 percent in 2016 compared to 2015. Shockingly, this stark increase in drug-related deaths is more than the last four years combined. This spike in overdose deaths can largely be attributed to the opioid epidemic. The CDC is always a year behind in reporting their information, so the most recent complied data comes from 2016. The drug overdose death toll for 2017 will be released later in 2018 and is expected to be much higher than 2016. In this article, we will examine the most current information about drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2016 and, based on this information, provide a brief forecast for 2018.

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Drug Addiction Has Permeated Every Corner Of The United States

Drug addiction is a worldwide phenomenon. It is especially prevalent in the United States. Whether you venture into the big city or cruise through the smallest of teeny tiny towns, there is no place in America that has been untouched by addiction. It may be difficult to believe, but researchers suggest that if you stand in any populated area across the U.S., you can travel less than one hundred miles and get your hands on cocaine, heroin, marijuana, prescription opioids, or methamphetamines. With so many Americans in search of something that will give them a buzz, the demand for illegal drugs is high and the supply is available. What do our country’s widespread addiction problems mean for Americans? That’s easy. Drug addiction degrades the individual, destroys the family unit, breaks down the workplace, and devastates society as a whole. We only have to look at increasing crime rates, packed prisons, and the ever-increasing death toll of our people to understand that addiction brings nothing but destruction to everyone and everything it comes into contact with.

Some Statistics of Interest About Drug Overdose Deaths in 2016

Statistical experts were no doubt appalled by the 2016 findings of the CDC. Across the board, drug overdose death increased all across the United States. Here are some of the key 2016 findings reported by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics:

  • In 2016, there were more than 63,600 drug overdose deaths in the United States.
  • In 2016, the rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States was more than three times the rate in 1999.
  • Among persons aged 15 and over, adults aged 25–34, 35–44, and 45–54 had the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in 2016 at around 35 per 100,000.
  • From 2015 to 2016, the greatest percentage increase in the drug overdose death rates occurred among adults aged 15–24, 25–34, and 35–44 with increases of 28 percent, 29 percent, and 24 percent, respectively.
  • West Virginia (52 per 100,000), Ohio (39.1 per 100,000), New Hampshire (39 per 100,000), the District of Columbia (38.8 per 100,000), and Pennsylvania (37.9 per 100,000) had the highest observed drug overdose death rates in 2016.
  • Iowa (10.6 per 100,000), North Dakota (10.6 per 100,000), Texas (10.1 per 100,000), South Dakota (8.4 per 100,000), and Nebraska (6.4 per 100,000) were the five states with the lowest observed drug overdose death rates.
  • The  rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (drugs such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol) doubled between 2015 and 2016, from 3.1 to 6.2 per 100,000.
  • Overdose death rates were significantly higher for males than females. For males, the rate increased from 8.2 in 1999 to 26.2 in 2016. For females, the rate increased from 3.9 in 1999 to 13.4 in 2016.

Opioids – The Number One Offender For Drug-Related Overdose Deaths

It is important to understand that the United States is smack dab in the center of an opioid epidemic. Tens of thousands of Americans are dying every year because of an overdose on the powerful narcotic painkillers known as opioids. Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, and Fentanyl are among the most popular and most dangerous opioid drugs. These drugs are deadly, and they greatly contributed to the number of drug overdose deaths in the United States last year. Opioids are the number one cause for drug overdose deaths. Here are some facts:

  • The rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone doubled from 2015 to 2016.
  • The rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, which include drugs such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol, increased from 0.3 per 100,000 in 1999 to 1.0 per 100,000 in 2013, 1.8 per 100,000 in 2014, 3.1 per 100,000 in 2015, and 6.2 per 100,000 in 2016.
  • The rate of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone increased on average by 18 percent from 1999 to 2006, did not statistically change from 2006 to 2013, then increased by an astounding 88 percent from 2013 to 2016.
  • The rate of drug overdose deaths involving heroin increased from 0.7 per 100,000 in 1999, to 1.0 per 100,000 in 2010, to 4.9 per 100,000 in 2016.
  • The rate of drug overdose deaths involving heroin was steady from 1999 to 2005, then increased on average by 10 percent per year from 2005 to 2010, by 33 percent per year from 2010 to 2014, and by 19 percent from 2014 to 2016.
  • The rate of drug overdose deaths involving natural and semisynthetic opioids, which include drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, increased from 1.0 per 100,000 in 1999 to 4.4 per 100,000 in 2016.
  • The rate of drug overdose deaths involving natural and semisynthetic opioids, which include drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, increased on average by 13 percent per year from 1999 to 2009 and by 3 percent per year from 2009 to 2016.
  • The rate of drug overdose deaths involving methadone increased from 0.3 per 100,000 in 1999 to 1.8 per 100,000 in 2006, then declined to 1.0 per 100,000 in 2016.

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Putting 2016’s Death Toll Into Perspective

According to CBS News, 2016’s drug fatalities outnumbered:

  • The estimated number of Americans who died in the Vietnam War – 58,220.
  • The 35,092 motor vehicle deaths in 2015.
  • AIDS-related deaths in the worst year of the AIDS crisis, when 50,628 people died in 1995.
  • The peak year for homicides in the U.S., when 24,703 people were murdered in 1991.
  • Suicides, which have been rising in the U.S. for nearly 30 years, and totaled 44,193 in 2015.

With the latest information about the death toll related to drug overdoses, it will most likely be added to the list of leading causes of death in the United States.

Evidence Shows There Has Been A Steady Increase In Drug Overdose Deaths In The Past Decade

According to the CDC, the rate of drug overdose deaths increased from 6.1 per 100,000 standard population in 1999 to 19.8 in 2016. The rate increased on average by 10 percent per year from 1999 to 2006, by 3 percent per year from 2006 to 2014, and by 18 percent per year from 2014 to 2016. Needless to say, this information is troubling. What this means is that every year, the number of people dying because of a drug overdose is steadily increasing. Because this increase in overdose deaths is largely related to opioids, it is important to understand that, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), from 1991 to 2011, there was a near tripling of opioid prescriptions dispensed by U.S. pharmacies: from 76 million to 219 million prescriptions. In conjunction with this increase, there was also a near tripling of opioid-related deaths over the same time period. The increased availability of opioid drugs has no doubt led to the increased number of opioid overdoses. Based on everything we know about the most current data available on drug overdose death statistics in 2016, we should expect another increase in drug overdose deaths in the data presented later in the year about what happened in 2017. However; there may be a decrease in drug overdose deaths in 2018.

A Forecast For 2018 – Will Drug Overdose Deaths Decrease?

It is important to remember that in October of 2017, President Donald Trump declared the U.S. opioid crisis a national public health emergency. The president was heavily criticized because he initially announced he would declare the epidemic a national emergency, but declared it a national public health emergency instead. If he would have made a declaration of national emergency, his decision would have allowed for additional funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund. Nevertheless, because the opioid epidemic is classified as a public health emergency, there will be some funding allocated to fight against opioid related death. Campaigns will no doubt be dedicated to raise awareness on the dangers of opioids and educate the public. Furthermore, doctors will not be overprescribing opioids as they have done in the past, which will contribute to a decrease in opioid related deaths. With everything the country is learning about opioids and how dangerous they truly are, it is quite possible that we will see a significant decrease in the total number of drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2018. ” column_min_width=”[object Object]” column_spacing=”[object Object]” rule_style=”[object Object]” rule_size=”[object Object]” rule_color=”[object Object]” hide_on_mobile=”[object Object]” class=”[object Object]” id=”[object Object]”][object Object]

How You Can Make A Difference In The 2018 Drug Overdose Death Toll

To be sure, we each have a responsibility in seeing that drug addiction stops tearing our country apart. We bring the overdose death toll down one addict at a time. As we kick off 2018, we all have a choice – what kind of statistic are we going to represent? Are we going to contribute to sobriety in America or are we going to contribute to number of addicted people? There are two obvious ways we can each make sure that the number of death related overdoses in America decreases in 2018. If you have a drug problem, get help immediately. If you know someone who has a drug problem, get that person the help they so desperately need.

If You Are Struggling With An Addiction, Help Is Available

Take a moment to ask yourself if you are at risk for addiction. If you have are abusing opioids, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, chances are; you have a drug problem. It’s easy to minimize your problem or stay in denial about your situation, but this is a luxury you cannot afford. Keep in mind that the more than 60,000 people who died from a drug overdose in 2016 died accidentally. They took too many drugs and they unintentionally overdosed. You may think you have your habit under control, when it’s actually controlling you. Addiction is a disease that must be arrested at some point through abstinence from all drugs. If you have been struggling to stop your use of drugs or alcohol, talk to an addiction specialist and find out what your options are. If you don’t, you could end up becoming one of tens of thousands of unsuspecting people who will die of a drug overdose in 2018.

If Someone You Care About Is Addicted, Consider It A Medical Emergency

If someone you love is struggling with an addiction problem, you shouldn’t look the other way and hope it gets better with time. It won’t. Addiction is a progressive condition that only gets worse. We want to empower you to take action if someone in your life is battling an addiction because we don’t want them to die from an accidental overdose. Most assuredly, the more than 63,600 people who died of a drug overdose in 2016 left behind people who loved them. They were mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, and friends of people whose lives will never be the same now that they are gone. The people who are left behind will forever carry a sense of guilt because they didn’t take more aggressive action in combatting the problem of addiction. You should consider addiction a medical emergency – because it is. Addiction is a life-threatening condition that often requires an intervention from family and friends. If you even suspect that someone in your life is addicted to opioids, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, or some kind of toxic drug, get help. If you don’t, your friend or family member could become a statistic in 2018 and die of a drug overdose.