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This country’s drug crisis is far from over as data reveals that people continue to lose their lives in increasing numbers. A recent study released in the medical journal JAMA shows that drug overdose deaths in the U.S. have risen dramatically over the past several decades. Specifically, deaths linked to drug overdoses have soared over 600 percent between 1980 and 2014.
U.S. Drug Deaths Increase More Than 600 Percent Over 35 Years
The study released in JAMA was a comprehensive look at the more than 2.8 million deaths in the U.S. between 1980 and 2014 due to substance use disorders and intentional injuries. The researchers reviewed nationwide data related to mortality from the Human Mortality Database, National Center for Health Statistics, and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Overall, they found that deaths related to substance use disorders in the U.S. increased 618.3 percent during the study period. Since this study was designed to look at regional differences, it found that some areas had much worse results than others even though nearly 100 percent of all U.S. counties saw increases.
In the Appalachian regions, deaths related to overdose had even more substantial increases, with areas in Kentucky and West Virginia being hit particularly hard. For example, over the period of the study, deaths related to drug use skyrocketed 8,369.7 percent in Boone County, West Virginia.
Other causes of harm that lead to death were also studied, with mixed results. Over the study period, deaths caused by domestic violence or abuse dropped 44.9 percent, and alcohol use disorder mortality rates were down 8.1 percent. Deaths due to self-harm decreased by 6 percent, but they have increased by roughly 11 percent since 2000.
The Nation’s Opioid Epidemic Continues
While not specific about the cause of these soaring mortality figures, many experts point to the nation’s opioid epidemic as the catalyst. In 2016, the U.S. death toll tied to drugs was 63,600 Americans, more than the entire casualty count of the Vietnam war. Of those, 42,200 were opioid-related, and this was a 27.8 percent increase from just the prior year.
This surge in drug overdose deaths over several years has even led to a reduction in the life expectancy of U.S. citizens. While the opioid epidemic has been declared a public health emergency, there is still much to accomplish. The good news is that anyone suffering from a drug use disorder or opioid addiction has more resources than ever before available to get help.
If you or a loved one need help, there are addiction treatment resources available.
Get Help Now at a Qualified Addiction Treatment Center
Are you or someone you love struggling with drug addiction? You can get help now at The Recovery Village, which offers a comprehensive addiction treatment program that will suit your particular needs. We will speak to you about your situation and help you decide on the best program of care that may include medical detox, residential drug treatment, outpatient treatment, family therapy, and aftercare.
We provide holistic treatment programs that are designed to help you break free from the hold of addiction and build a new life in recovery. Contact us now to learn about admissions and begin your journey to freedom.
American Drug Deaths: Study Indicates 600-Percent Increase over 35-Year Period