Jun 6, 2017 - Health

Opioid epidemic rises in intensity and scale

Chris Post / AP

"Drug Deaths in America Are Rising Faster Than Ever," by N.Y. Times Upshot's Josh Katz in Akron, Ohio:

  • "Drug overdose deaths in 2016 most likely exceeded 59,000, the largest annual jump ever recorded in the United States."
  • "Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50... and all evidence suggests the problem has continued to worsen in 2017.
  • Over two million Americans are estimated to be dependent on opioids, and an additional 95 million used prescription painkillers in the past year — more than used tobacco.

The drug to watch: "[In some counties] deaths from heroin have virtually disappeared. Instead, the culprit is fentanyl or one of its many analogs... In Montgomery County, home to Dayton [Ohio], of the 100 drug overdose deaths recorded in January and February, only three people tested positive for heroin; 99 tested positive for fentanyl or an analog."

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