Drugs Killing More Americans Than Road Crashes
by Patricia Woods
Drug-induced and motor vehicle crash deaths in the U.S. from 2004 to 2014.
The United States is in the throes of a heroin and opiate epidemic with cheap supply pushing user numbers to a 20-year high. In 2014, the number of heroin users across the U.S. reached one million, three times as high as in 2003.
Drug-induced deaths are also rising steeply with heroin-related deaths increasing five-fold since 2000. Drug overdoses are now killing more Americans than car crashes, putting the sheer scale of the crisis into perspective. Back in 2004, 30,711 Americans' deaths were drug-related, according to the CDC. By 2014, the latest year for which data is available, that number went up sharply to 49,714 (the majority of the deaths involved some kind of opioid). That same year, 32,675 Americans were killed on the country's roads.
The unstoppable rise in drug-induced deaths can be attributed to a steady increase in the supply of cheap heroin from Mexico and Colombia. Legislation aimed at eroding the abuse of prescription opioids has also added to the problem. The texture of some pills was changed in order to make them more difficult to crush and inject into the bloodstream. As a result, many people abusing prescription opioids shifted over to heroin.
A deadly new drug has also appeared in some parts of the U.S. in recent years. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin and it has created a spike of overdoses across several north-eastern states. It has also been named as the drug that killed pop singer Prince.
Drug-induced deaths are also a massive global problem. According to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, 207,000 deaths around the world in 2014 were drug-related.
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United States: "Drugs Killing More Americans Than Road Crashes"