Their findings come from an independent investigation into 2016’s overdose deaths. While the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) stats are most commonly used, those numbers are also slow to come, as they usually aren’t released until December of the following year. So instead, the NYT compiled their own statistical findings based on “hundreds of state health departments and county coroners and medical examiners. Together they represent data from states and counties that accounted for 76 percent of overdose deaths in 2015.”
So what did the venerable Manhattan newspaper find?
According to the New York Times June 7 expose, they estimate drug overdose deaths “most likely” exceeded 59,000 in 2016, and possibly as high as 65,000 deaths.
That happens to be the most significant annual increase ever recorded in the United States; up 19% from 2015's already epidemic levels.
In fact, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50 years old.
The root cause of the problem is the prevalence of prescription opioid pain medications that lead to addiction. These opioids killed almost twice as many people last year as homicides, car crashes, gun deaths, and suicides (individually).
But these are just numbers, and we often become desensitized to the rising death toll when we read them on paper.
But something else jumped out at me from this article that really puts the opioid crisis in perspective. Take a look at this line graph on the rising death toll since 1980 that was included in the article. The death toll takes such a steep upturn that they had to wrap the text around it in order to fit it in a column correctly.
The number of Americans addicted to and OD’ing on prescription painkillers, as well as illegal opioids they lead to, is literally jumping off the page.
I’ve never seen anything like that before.
It’s time for chiropractors to work more diligently than ever to combat this epidemic! Who’s with me?!