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Drug overdoses kill as many Americans as three wars combined

Chris Post / AP

In a new column from NYT's Nick Kristoff, harrowing stats about America's opioid epidemic: "About as many Americans are expected to die this year of drug overdoses as died in the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined." Kristoff explores how "drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50," and what America is doing about it.

The numbers:

  • "Last year, there were more than 236 million prescriptions written for opioids in the United States — that's about one bottle of opioids for every American adult."
  • "It should be a national scandal that only 10 percent of Americans with opioid problems get treatment."
  • "A Times investigation published this month estimated that more than 59,000 Americans died in 2016 of drug overdoses, in the largest annual jump in such deaths ever recorded in the U.S."