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by Peter Moskos

March 22, 2016

125 Overdose Deaths a Day

It makes homicide -- which kills "just" 40 Americans a day -- look positively benign.

47,000 Americas died from drug overdose in 2014. That's a shocking figure. 47,000 is the number of US soldiers who died in Vietnam combat. And that was over 20 years.

Heroin deaths have shot up since 2010:

From the Times:
The death rate from drug overdoses is climbing at a much faster pace than other causes of death, jumping to an average of 15 per 100,000 in 2014 from nine per 100,000 in 2003.
Nationally, opioids were involved in more than 61 percent of deaths from overdoses in 2014. [Only 61%? I'm actually surprised it's that low.] Deaths from heroin overdoses have more than tripled since 2010 and are double the rate of deaths from cocaine.

From CNN:
The biggest increase in deaths was from from synthetic opioids, which went up 80%. According to the CDC, the increase in synthetic opioid deaths coincided with increased reports by law enforcement of illicitly manufactured fentanyl.
The states with the highest rates of overdose were West Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky and Ohio.

Since 2000, opioid drug overdose deaths rose 200%. Nearly half a million lives have been lost to opioid drug overdoses since then.
Maybe we could look at a country that has come very close (knock on wood) to solving this problem? There are about 100 overdose deaths in the Netherlands. 16.8 million people. That's a rate of 0.6. Yeah: zero-point-six. Put another way, if the Netherlands were the size of the US, there would be about 2,000 overdose deaths. So what do they do in the Netherlands? Give that shit away for free, literally.

Or maybe we should just take out another kingpin or two. That always seems to work.


Kyle said...

so 2003 is the O.D. year 0... wonder what it was like before.

2003 what a year to remember, I became US citizen and we started the invasion of Iraq.

People voluntarily do drugs and sadly it is part of human instinct. Educate our kids or better yet scare/disgust them with horrified drug stories, and super charge Obamacare, mandantory drug test for all!

Peter Moskos said...

They were going up back then, too. But the change seems to be in the increase in pharmaceutical abuse that happened around then.
I just found this. It seems legit:

Jim Greer said...

Should the US give out free Oxycontin? That's what's killing all those impoverished whites. The highest overdoses match up very well with the states that have the most poor whites.


West Virginia is #1, New Mexico #7, Ohio #11.

New Hampshire is #39 though. Kind of an odd duck.

Noumenon said...

I don't think we should be doing anything to prevent intentional overdoses. Forcing people to live is cruel, and this is a pretty good way to go.

Peter Moskos said...

People might switch to pure heroin, if that were a choice.
As to not preventing overdoses, I don't quite know what to say. Other than they're not suicides.

Peter Moskos said...

Though if you did want to kick off, it would be a pretty good way to go...

Noumenon said...

I actually don't know much about the people who overdose (all the blogosphere seems to know about them is the statistics), but I assumed it was more "don't feel like thinking about the consequences" than bad batches or reading the label wrong or not knowing what could happen. Like they're right at the margin of indifference: surviving with one less dose, or maybe not surviving but getting that last hit, they don't have a clear pick between those.