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More than 72,000 people died from drug overdoses between January 2017 and January 2018, according to new estimates from the Center for Disease Control.
That represents a 14 percent rise over 2016, despite a year of calls for action on the drug epidemic from national politicians and the media. Drug deaths continue to eclipse every other cause of non-disease death in the United States, including car crashes, homicides, and suicides. More people died from drug overdoses in 2017 than at any point in the preceding two decades.
The article goes on to state the following:
The driving force behind last year’s increase is the dangerous class of synthetic opioids called fentanyls, predominantly the medical painkiller fentanyl, but also deadlier analogs like carfentanil and acetylfentanyl. Indeed, while fentanyl overdose rates have continued their meteoric year-on-year climb, rates of death from other opioids—heroin and prescription drugs like OxyContin and hydrocodone—appear to have slowed.
What was once a prescription drug crisis, and then a heroin crisis, might now rightly be termed a fentanyl crisis.
Fentanyl was virtually unknown in the world of drugs until four or five years ago, when it began to appear in the United States and at the border. Prior to then, America had experienced a steady rise in the rate of overdose deaths associated with prescription opioids, a complex epidemic tied to irresponsible pharmaceutical firms, over prescription, and a culture eager to treat its pain.
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Fentanyl use drove drug overdose deaths to a record high in 2017, CDC estimates https://t.co/C1C4RfqiCr
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 16, 2018
With more than 72,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017, it’s likely that US life expectancy declined for the third year in a row. We haven’t seen that since the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 https://t.co/UZnRt1Xi4L
— Nick Wing (@nickpwing) August 15, 2018
U.S. drug overdose deaths rose to a record 72,000 last year, CDC says https://t.co/zdGpKSzECl
— FORTUNE (@FortuneMagazine) August 16, 2018