Drug deaths for 2016 were tallied at 63,600, up from 52,000 in 2015. This year is likely to continue the trend. Fentanyl is being blamed. In other words, drug manufacturers, the companies supposedly in the business of saving lives, have been so negligent with our health that they are responsible for a drop in the life expectancy of the entire United States. Let that sink in. These are the companies that produce cough medicine, baby shampoo, and vaccines for us and our children.
I think we should take it very seriously. If you look at the other developed countries in the world, they’re not seeing this kind of thing. Life expectancy is going up.” – Bob Anderson, chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch at the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the CDC
Since 1962 and 1963 influenza caused an inordinate number of deaths. Since then, the U.S. has only had a one-year drop in our life expectancy, which was during the worst of the AIDS epidemic. The number of people who fatally overdosed on fentanyl and other synthetic opiates rose from 9,580 in 2015 to 19,413 the following year. Deaths due to heroin increased almost 20 percent, and deaths from other opioid painkillers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone went up to 14 percent. At least 42,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses in 2016, which is reported to be a 28 percent increase from the previous year.
Keith Humphreys, an addiction specialist at Stanford University, says it’s even worse than it looks. Keith says that the research has shown official figures could be undercounting the true number of opioid deaths by 20 percent or more,
…we could easily be at 50,000 opioid deaths last year,” he said. “This means that even if you ignored deaths from all other drugs, the opioid epidemic alone is deadlier than the AIDS epidemic at its peak.”
The opioid addiction in the U.S. is affecting other countries too.
The biggest challenge China faces in cracking down on the smuggling of opioids is the huge demand from the US. The United States should strengthen its educational and publicity campaigns to reduce domestic demand, intensify its crackdown on internet-based drug crimes, and share more lab data with China to improve our detection and verification capabilities.” – Yu Haibin, a senior official with the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, the country’s top law enforcement agency.
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- Why I Stopped Taking Prescription Drugs
- Fueled by drug crisis, U.S. life expectancy declines for a second straight year – The Washington Post
- China says US not doing enough to cut demand for opioids – CNN