New CDC Data Shows a Jump in Opioid-Related Overdoses

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A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a sobering update on the United States' ongoing opioid epidemic: Opioid-related overdoses jumped by about 28 percent between 2015 and 2016.

What's more, over 63,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2016—a figure, as the Hill points out, greater than the total number of U.S. casualties in the Vietnam War. Sixty-six percent of those overdose deaths were caused by opioids, according to the CDC report: A quarter were attributed to heroin, about one-third to prescription opioids, and one-third to synthetic opioids, namely fentanyl.

Demographically, it seems no group has gone unaffected. Opioid deaths are up among all ages over 15, all genders, every race, and in all geographic communities. African Americans saw opioid overdoses go up by over 50 percent, and whites by over 25 percent.

President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public-health emergency last year. Among his proposed strategies for tackling the issue: sentencing drug dealers to death, creating "unsavory" ads that show the consequences of addiction, and improving the availability of both medication-assisted treatment for addiction and an opioid overdose-reversing drug called naloxone.

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