The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new report showing the extent of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. population. One of the shocking statistics from the report was the number of Americans that are dying each day due to the opioid epidemic.
The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis that the U.S. needs to deal with effectively and immediately.
In the CDC's report regarding the opioid epidemic, the most alarming statistic is the amount of Americans that are dying each day — 115 people. The data was gathered from the fatal overdoses from 31 states that produced reliable reports of drug-related causes of death using the CDC's National Vital Statistics System.
The report focuses on the period of 2015 to 2016. It shows that there was a jump in opioid-related overdoses of around 28 percent between 2015 and 2016. There was also a total of 63,632 Americans that died of a drug overdose in 2016, and that's a 21.5 percent increase from 2015.
Of the drug overdose deaths, 66 percent were due to opioid usage. A quarter of the overdose deaths were due to heroin, one-third due to prescription opioids, and one-third to synthetic opioids.
Of the 31 states that were used, 21 saw increases in the synthetic opioid overdose deaths and 10 saw an increase that doubled their rates. There was also an increase in the opioid-involved deaths in every subgroup that was examined — this included males, females, people over the age of 15, whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians/Pacific Islanders.
The CDC recommends that a multifaceted, collaborative public health and public safety approach must be implemented. It states that the steps needed to curb the overdose deaths include increasing naloxone availability, increase in harm reduction services, help with treatment for individuals, safe prescribing practices, and supporting law enforcement strategies to reduce the number of illicit drugs available.
The states that are hardest hit by the drug epidemic include West Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. West Virginia experienced 43.4 deaths for every 100,000 residents in 2016. New Hampshire had 35.8 deaths per 100,000 people, Ohio had 32.9 deaths per 100,000 people, the District of Columbia had 30 deaths per 100,000 people, and Massachusetts and Maryland had 29.7 deaths per 100,000 people.
One of the biggest takeaways from the report is that the number of deaths in 2016 is greater than the total number of U.S. casualties in the Vietnam War.