The new leading cause of death among young Americans is overdosing, show new studies. Americans under the age of 50 are at risk – and a large part of the blame goes on overprescription of pills that cause dependence.
Preliminary CDC data published by the New York Times shows US drug overdose deaths surged 19 percent to at least 59,000 in 2016.
The article continues to detail an opioid crisis that has hit the United States thanks to drugs manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, like fentanyl. In fact, fentanyl is a huge contributor to overdose deaths, with the number of people who died from fentanyl rising to 65,000 from 2015-2016.
The Daily Mail reports:
The figures are based on preliminary data, which will form part of an official report by the CDC later this year.
Experts warn a key factor of the surge in deaths is fentanyl, which can be 50 times more powerful than heroin.
The Times said its data showed between 59,000 and 65,000 people could have died from overdoses in 2016, up from 52,404 in 2015, and double the death rate a decade ago.
‘And all evidence suggests the problem has continued to worsen in 2017,’ the Times said.
On Tuesday the US Drug Enforcement Administration issued a stark warning to officers over handling fentanyl, which drug traffickers use as a cheap way to strengthen the effect of heroin and prescription opioids.
It pointed to several cases in which police officers experienced extreme reactions after inadvertently touching or inhaling fentanyl-spiked drugs.
The officers needed strong and sometime multiple injections of anti-overdose drugs like Narcan to prevent death.
‘The spread of fentanyl means that any encounter a law enforcement officer has with an unidentified white powder could be fatal,’ said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at a DEA event.
‘Just two milligrams – the equivalent of a few grains of table salt, an amount that can fit on the tip of your finger – can be lethal,’ Rosenstein said.
The DEA has also warned officers against letting drug-sniffing dogs too close to anything that might contain fentanyl.