Executive Intelligence Review
Subscribe to EIR


U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths Leap, Again, to Over 64,000 in 2016

Sept. 4, 2017 (EIRNS)—U.S. deaths from drug overdoses grew from 52,898 in 2015, to 64,070 in 2016, a 21% increase, the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported at the end of August. This is the highest single year-over-year leap in several decades. The drug deaths, resulting from physical economic collapse, joblessness, and deep despair, are the true markers of the U.S. economic and social plunge.

The number of these overdose deaths is now equal to the number of firearm and motor vehicle deaths combined.

The level and increase of drug deaths for individual states, year-on-year, is stunning. Between 2015 and 2016, Virginia’s rose by 38% (1,005 to 1,387), Indiana by 28% (1,228 to 1,566), Ohio by 33% (3,050 to 4,050), Florida by 55%, (3,324 to 5,167), New York City by 50% (987 to 1,478), and Maryland by 67% (1,303 to 2,171).

The increasing use of the synthetic opioid fentanyl—which is used in pain management, usually in the form of slow-release patches applied to the skin—is a major vector for the drug increase, especially when fentanyl is mixed with heroin. A former drug dealer told Canada’s CBC News in 2013, that "I have a list of about 21 people that I know to buy fentanyl patches from, that will sell their patches." People can often get them cheap if they have health insurance, he averred. He said that drug abusers will often chew or smoke the fentanyl patches for an immediate high.

The George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations’ policies led to the drug death epidemic. In the year 2000, there were 17,415 drug overdose deaths in the United States; in 2016, 64,070, a nearly fourfold increase. During the 16 years of those two combined presidencies, heroin deaths rose from 1,842 in 2000, to 12,989 last year, a sevenfold leap. Between 2000 and 2016, cumulatively, 616,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, an amount more than half the level of Americans who died in all the wars the U.S. has fought since its founding.