According to the CDC’s National Vital Statistics Report, an average of 50,000 people die from drug overdoses each year. Many of those deaths are attributed to Fentanyl that has been mixed with opioids or cocaine. Fentanyl is now considered the deadliest drug of all time, causing more overdose deaths than any other drug on the streets today. But, Fentanyl and its derivatives are not the only culprits in this path of misery and death raging across our country. Let’s take a look at the most deadly drugs in the US this year.
Death Certificates Reveal a Shocking Truth
In recent years, cocaine and heroin mixed with Fentanyl have become more common. This may account for the combinations of drugs shown on death certificates.
Some of the other drugs most often listed on death certificates of persons who overdosed were as follows.
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
Through the years, different drugs took the number one spot for overdose deaths. For instance, in 2012, oxycodone ranked first. Between 2012 and 2015, heroin took the spot. In 2016, Fentanyl became the number one killer. However, during the entire span of years, cocaine consistently ranked second or third place as the most deadly drug in the US.
It’s also interesting to note that between 2011 and 2016, the overdose death rate involving heroin and methamphetamine more than tripled. Furthermore, between 2013 and 2016, the overdose rate attributed to Fentanyl doubled each year. In New York City alone, during the first quarter of 2018, about 360 people died from drug overdoses. That’s about one death every six hours. Fentanyl was involved in over 80% of those deaths. Sadly, more New Yorkers die of drug overdoses than suicides, homicides, and vehicle accidents combined.
Drugs Most Commonly Used in Suicides
Overdose deaths are mostly associated with illegal drugs. However, a surprising number of overdoses and suicides are attributed to legal prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines.
Suicides are often committed using a combination of drugs like Oxycontin and Valium, or Oxycontin and Xanax. The drugs most frequently listed on death certificates of individuals who committed suicide are Benadryl, OxyContin, Xanax, and Vicodin.
Impact of Drug Overdoses on Society
As drug overdose deaths continue to rise, the impact on society is staggering. The problem has escalated to the point of having a negative effect on life expectancy rates in the United States. This is something that has not happened since World War II. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for individuals younger than 55 years of age. Life expectancy has decreased by nearly four months due to the drug crisis.
It’s difficult to accept that such a prosperous developed country as the United States should suffer a declining life expectancy. But, the numbers don’t lie. Hundreds of people are dying from a drug overdose at this very moment across the nation.
Costs to Society by the Numbers
Society as a whole also suffers from the impact of drug overdoses in lost productivity in the workplace, youth who will not grow up to be contributing members of society, and financial repercussions associated with addressing drug-related crime, treatment, prevention research, and deaths.
Overall, the cost of drug abuse in the US is about $820 billion a year. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Tobacco – $300 billion
- Alcohol – $249 billion
- Illegal drugs – $193 billion
- Prescription drugs – $78.5 billion
Impacts of drug abuse on the healthcare system include about $161 million for ED visits and $5.5 million for hospitalizations due to overdoses.
Drug abuse accounts for $49 billion in reduced work days, $48 billion for incarceration, and about $4 billion for premature deaths.
The costs to society are not only measured in dollars. Other factors that create problems stemming from drug-related issues include:
- Crime, unemployment, homelessness, divorce, domestic abuse.
- Spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/Aids and Hepatitis C.
- Adverse health effects on unborn children.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Deaths from an overdose.
Many addicts mistakenly believe they are hurting no one but themselves. But, the above numbers tell a different story altogether.
Treating the Most Dangerous Drugs in the US
At Awakenings Rehabilitation, we help bring down the number of deaths due to drug-related causes. If you or a loved one needs treatment for addiction, please contact us today. We have helped hundreds of people eliminate drugs from their lives and become contributing members of society once again. Our experts know how to treat addictions to the most deadly drugs in the US, and we want to help you.
cdc.gov – National Vital Statistics Report
nytimes.com – The Numbers Are So Staggering. Overdose Deaths Set a Record Last Year
nyc.gov – Unintentional Drug Poisoning (Overdose) Deaths Quarter 1, 2018, New York City
msn.com/en-us – 25 Most Dangerous Drugs
drugabuse.gov – Trends & Statistics