More People Die from Heroin
A new, sad statistic has just been released by the Center for Disease Control—heroin deaths now outnumber gun homicides. The opiate epidemic has been on the rise for years, with no end in sight. Ambulances scream down city and suburban streets, rushing to the next overdose victim. Sometimes they save them, sometimes they don’t. With the existence of extremely pure heroin, often mixed with powerful synthetic drugs, like Fentanyl, we have reached a new, ominous milestone in our society.
The CDC recently released its newest research on the opiate crisis. In 2015, there were more than 30,000 opiate-related deaths, which is an increase of about 5,000 since 2014. “Opiates” is a blanket statement covering all opiate painkillers including Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Heroin and Fentanyl. When it comes to heroin, fatalities are at an all-time high and deaths related to heroin have surpassed those caused by other painkillers for the first time since the 1990’s.
According to the CDC, in 2015, more people died from heroin-related deaths than gun violence. As recently as 2007 gun murders outnumbered heroin deaths about 5 to 1 and now that statistic has reversed. We now live in a society where heroin and opiate use is so rampant, its use kills more people than a device solely created to kill.
According to Tom Frieden, a Director at the CDC:
“The epidemic of deaths involving opioids continues to worsen. Prescription opioid misuse and use of heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl are intertwined and deeply troubling problems."
Opiate use across the board is completely out-of-control at this point. More and more people are using heroin and painkillers every day, many of which are kids who, out of mere curiosity or peer pressure, are beginning their downward spiral into the dark, seedy world of opiate addiction. With so many people using these drugs, heroin and opiate-related deaths have increased year after year finally resulting in the first drop of American life expectancy for the first time since 1993.
One of the biggest reasons behind the explosion of overdose deaths is that many people in this country don’t have access to effective drug treatment and drug rehabs. In response to the inaccessibility of good substance abuse treatment for many addicts, Congress has recently passed a bill to spend $1 billion for the treatment and prevention of opiate addiction.
What is needed so badly by addicts in this country is easily accessible and effective drug treatment and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, cost is an issue for many addicts and their families; state-run facilities don’t always have beds available and private-care treatment, while the most effective, can be cost-prohibitive. It’s great our government is putting funds toward combating the current opiate crisis. Addicts need effective drug treatment to be available to them. When heroin is killing more people annually than guns, drastic changes need to be made to protect us, as a species, from eventually going extinct.