According to a recent news analysis in United States, the problem of death due to drug overdose is much worse than expected if one were to refer to records between 1979 and 2016. Though the focus of health officials is now on the opioid epidemic this study shows that the nation has ignored drug overdose problem that has become worse over the decades. Statistics show that early 600,000 deaths have occurred between 1979 and 2016 with a spike in cases every nine years as per the report published in Science on 21st Sept. As per a recent report tabled by Center for Disease Control and Prevention around 63600 Americans died from overdose of varied drugs during 2016.
During this duration of 38 years the number of accidental deaths from drugs like heroin and methamphetamine has varied but the pattern is very troubling as it shows that this overdose epidemic will continue for several years. Hawre Jalal, a health policy researcher and co-author of this report stated that health policy has to focus on drugs as an epidemic instead of trying to eradicate one or two drugs. The report states that the top cause of overdose fatality has been fentanyl leading to 5.4 deaths per 100,000 people.
Deaths rates show that several drugs have contributed to the overdose epidemic during these 38 years making it difficult for health workers to single out which drugs are the most popular among addicts and how to stop them. While heroin has been responsible for overdose deaths in large cities in the southwest and northeast regions of the country, methamphetamine has caused deaths in southwest and west cost areas while opioid deaths are widespread. Information scientist Kathleen Steward says that US has become a hotspot for drug overdose-related deaths and a troubling part of the report shows that overall death rate in small rural counties is more than urban areas.