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The US Heroin and Prescription Drug Epidemic


Prescription drug overdoses are killing more Americans than any other drug, according to new report.

The annual Drug Threat Assessment report found that drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury death for Americans, ahead of death by a firearm or a car accident.

There were 46,471 fatal overdoses in 2013 with approximately 50% coming from prescription drugs and 8,000 from Heroin.

"Sadly this report confirms what we’ve known for some time: drug abuse is ending too many lives too soon and destroying families and communities,” said Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator for the DEA.

Drugs, especially opioids (a compound resembling opium in addictive properties or physiological effects) like oxycodone and hydrocodone were responsible for 16,235 people in the US in 2013.

There was a surge in deaths from opioids in 2011 with 16,917 deaths occured from overdosing on the drug.

There has been a gradual decline in cocaine overdoses with the drug claiming 4,944 lives in 2013, 1,568 less than 2007.

Death by heroin overdose is becoming ever more prevalent in the US, claiming 8,257 lives in 2013, 40% more than the year before and 243% since 2007.

From 2013 to 2014 people who said they used heroin within the last month (at the time of the report) increased by 51%, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

"Heroin is available in larger quantities, used by a larger number of people, and is causing an increasing number of overdose deaths," the report said and concluded that "heroin use and overdose deaths are likely to continue to increase in the near term." 

Read More: Huffington Post

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