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Today’s number: 70,237 human beings

Friday, Nov 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller


New numbers Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that drug overdoses killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2017, a record. […]

Since 2013, the number of overdose deaths associated with fentanyls and similar drugs has grown to more than 28,000, from 3,000. Deaths involving fentanyls increased more than 45 percent in 2017 alone. […]

The recent increases in drug overdose deaths have been so steep that they have contributed to reductions in the country’s life expectancy over the last three years, a pattern unprecedented since World War II. Life expectancy at birth has fallen by nearly four months, and drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for adults under 55. […]

The trends in overdose deaths vary widely across the country. The epidemic has been strongest in Northeast, Midwest and mid-Atlantic states. In the West, where heroin is much less likely to be mixed with fentanyls, overdose rates are far lower. Data from the C.D.C. indicate that a state’s overdose trend closely tracks the number of fentanyl-related deaths.

Despite the sharp recent increases in drug-related deaths, some early signs suggest that 2017 could be the peak of the overdose epidemic. Preliminary C.D.C. data show death rates leveling off nationally in the early months of this year, though there is still a lot of local variation. Several states and cities have embarked on ambitious public health programs to reduce the deadliness of drug use and connect more drug users with treatment, and some of those changes may be bearing fruit, for instance in Dayton, Ohio, where local officials have worked hard to push down the overdose rate. And in a ruling with implications for prisons and jails nationwide, a federal judge in Massachusetts this week ordered a jail to offer an addicted man access to methadone.


  1. - @misterjayem - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:35 pm:

    In addition, the shocking mortality rate from opioid overdoses doesn’t include deaths from organ failure (hepatic cirrhosis, acute kidney injury, etc.) due to chronic opioid use and abuse.

    Even if you never O.D., if you do enough, long enough, you can just wear your organs out.

    – MrJM

  2. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:40 pm:

    While services to the addicted are necessary and need to be improved it is amazing that hardening the borders to reduce the flow of illegal drugs is rarely discussed.

    The El Chapo trial going on now is an illustration of how that illegal trade has come through Illinois. The turf wars n Chicago are mostly about illegal drug trade and the generated revenues.

  3. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:43 pm:

    Here’s hoping justice is finally served in regards to the Sackler family of Purdue Pharma. So far, they’ve just paid out a lot of corporate money for their misanthropy, but faced no personal consequences.

    Sadly, I think their corrupt Congressional, regulatory and medical enablers will skate altogether.

    The Sacklers are just as bad as the Escobars and El Chapos of the world, no matter how respectable they are in some circles.

  4. - Soccermom - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:44 pm:

    To Mr. JM’s point, we need to stop talking about deaths from opioid overdoses; that makes it sound like there’s a safe dose and you just need to stick to it. These deaths are due to acute opioid poisoning, as opposed to the chronic types that just kill you slower.

    This is a public health emergency. Alarms should be ringing and sirens shrieking.

  5. - Soccermom - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:44 pm:

    Amen, Word.

  6. - Soccermom - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:47 pm:

    Here’s a heartbreaking statistic: In 2016, Winnebago County had the highest percentage of drug-related deaths in Illinois at 28.9 per 100,000 residents, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Chicago had the next highest percentage at 21.7 per 100,000 residents.

  7. - Someone you should know - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:50 pm:

    If you ever want to see how bad this epidemic really is, I suggest you watch Heroin (E)

    This is a problem we MUST face head on, or it will ruin us economically and socially.

    As SM Said, This most truly is a Public Health Emergency. Only a few like the Mayor of Dayton and others are willing to face this head on.

  8. - DuPage - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:58 pm:

    A large number of the overdose deaths occur when the supply from the pharmacy is stopped. The person then gets the pills off the street which are sometimes not what they appear to be. They sometimes have fentanyl mixed in and are way too strong.

  9. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:59 pm:

    –While services to the addicted are necessary and need to be improved it is amazing that hardening the borders to reduce the flow of illegal drugs is rarely discussed.–

    Illegal drugs ain’t the gateway, cousin. Do you want to build a wall around Walgreens and CVS to keep folks from filling their Oxy script?

    Legal opioid prescriptions multiplied by a factor of five for no medical reason at all. It was all promotion and marketing.

  10. - 44th - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 1:40 pm:

    fentanyls are 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphone. imagine when some druggie adds a little sprinkle of that to his or her heroin or whatever drug. No wonder such a spike in deaths, no way to control amounts.

  11. - cdog - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 2:17 pm:

    This is really sad and complicated at both the level of the personal tragedies and the enforcement efforts.

    Here is a good event showing some progress is being made on the importation of illegal drugs. It just doesn’t make the main news feeds. DOJ just arrested, on Monday, the brother of the current Pres of Honduras for a multi-ton cocaine operation.

    “As alleged, former Honduran congressman Tony Hernandez was involved in all stages of the trafficking through Honduras of multi-ton loads of cocaine that were destined for the U.S. Hernandez allegedly arranged machinegun-toting security for cocaine shipments, bribed law enforcement officials for sensitive information to protect drug shipments, and solicited large bribes from major drug traffickers. Thanks to the ongoing work of the DEA, Hernandez is now in custody on U.S. soil and facing justice in the U.S. courts.”

    Special Agent in Charge Raymond Donovan said: “Drug trafficking and corruption around the world threatens the rule of law, fuels violence and instability, and harms innocent families and communities. Hernandez and his criminal associates allegedly conspired with some of the world’s most deadly and dangerous transnational criminal networks in Mexico and Colombia to flood American streets with deadly drugs. DEA looks forward to Hernandez facing American justice and answering for his alleged crimes.”

  12. - OneMan - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 2:49 pm:

    Been reading Dopesick

    What we did to people with this stuff is depressing and is a lesson I suspect we will not learn.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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