ADDICTION & RECOVERY Category in Blog

Fentanyl Deaths in 2016 Are Up 540% in Three Years

Josh Katz’s recent article in The New York Times was not shocking news to all of us at Freedom Institute. We are well aware of the scourge of the opioid epidemic and exponential rise of fentanyl overdoses. Katz reviews how the first governmental account of nationwide drug deaths in 2016 shows overdose deaths growing even faster than previously thought.

Drug overdoses killed roughly 64,000 people in the United States last year, according to the first governmental account of nationwide drug deaths to cover all of 2016. It’s a staggering rise of more than 22 percent over the 52,404 drug deaths recorded the previous year — and even higher than The New York Times’s estimate in June, which was based on earlier preliminary data.

Drug overdoses are expected to remain the leading cause of death for Americans under 50, as synthetic opioids — primarily fentanyl and its analogues — continue to push the death count higher. Drug deaths involving fentanyl more than doubled from 2015 to 2016, accompanied by an upturn in deaths involving cocaine and methamphetamine. Together they add up to an epidemic of drug overdoses that is killing people at a faster rate than the H.I.V. epidemic at its peak.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE.