Overdose deaths skyrocketed in 2016, shows no sign of slowing do - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Overdose deaths skyrocketed in 2016, shows no sign of slowing down

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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

The federal government on Tuesday released its first account of nationwide drug deaths to cover all of 2016 and the crisis sweeping across the nation shows no sign of slowing down. 

The preliminary figures from the National Center for Health Statistics show roughly 64,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, a staggering rise of over 21 percent from the previous year. Now, death by overdose is the most likely cause of death for Americans under 50, dramatically outpacing gun deaths and car crashes. 

Drug overdose deaths in Indiana rose by 28 percent between 2015 and 2016 and Kentucky rose by 18 percent. The data does not include stats from Ohio and 21 other states – overdose deaths take a long time to certify.

A state report shows in 2016, overdose deaths increased by 32.8 percent in Ohio compared to the previous year. 

The death count is the latest consequence of the escalating public health epidemic: opioid addiction, which is now deadlier than ever with an influx of the drug being laced with powerful synthetics.

The numbers solidify America’s overdose crisis is one of the nation’s deadliest challenges ever.

In comparison, 58,220 U.S. troops died in the Vietnam War. The United States has more gun deaths than any other developed country in the world and in 2015, deaths from firearms are dwarfed by the latest heroin figures – with 33,594 American deaths from gun injuries, 63 percent were suicides, according to federal data. In the same year, there were 32,166 fatal car crashes. 

The explosion of fentanyl deaths has been a strain on local and state budgets for increased police and medical care, naloxone distribution and swamped the foster care system with an increasing number of neglected and orphaned children

The numbers also show the evolution of the overdose crisis that rooted in the overprescription of opioids. Overtime, users moved on the heroin and fentanyl. The State of Ohio and Cincinnati both have separate lawsuits against big pharma, claiming they failed to control their high volume of dealing out painkillers. 

In August, President Donald Trump proclaimed that he considered the opioid crisis to be a "national emergency" leading many news organizations to report an official emergency has been declared. However, it is unclear where the White House is on making that declaration official. The president has not outlined any new policy to combat the crisis but has a commission investigating the crisis that is expected to release a full report in October. 

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