Drug Overdoses Now The Leading Killer Of American Adults Under 50

The opioid crisis that is ravaging urban and suburban communities across the US claimed an unprecedented 59,000 lives last year, according to preliminary data gathered by the New York Times. If accurate, that’s equivalent to a roughly 19% increase over the approximately 52,000 overdose deaths recorded in 2015, the NYT reported last year.

Overdoses, made increasingly common by the introduction of fentanyl and other powerful synthetic opioids into the heroin supply, are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. And all evidence suggests the problem has continued to worsen in 2017. One coroner in Western Pennsylvania told a local newspaper that his office is literally running out of room to store the bodies, and that it was recently forced to buy a larger freezer.

The initial data points to large increases in these types of deaths in states along the East Coast, particularly Maryland, Florida, Pennsylvania and Maine. In Ohio, which filed a lawsuit last week accusing five drug companies of abetting the opioid epidemic, the Times estimated that overdose deaths increased by more than 25 percent in 2016.

In some Ohio counties, deaths from heroin have virtually disappeared. Instead, the primary culprit is fentanyl or one of its many analogues. In Montgomery County, home to Dayton, of the 100 drug overdose deaths recorded in January and February, only three people tested positive for heroin; 97 tested positive for fentanyl or another analogue.

In some states in the western half of the US, data suggest deaths may have leveled off for the time being - or even begun to decline. Experts believe that the heroin supply west of the Mississippi River, traditionally dominated by a variant of the drug known as black tar which is smuggled over the border from Mexico, isn't as easily adulterated with lethal analogues as the powder that's common on the East Coast.

First responders are finding that, with fentanyl, carfentanil and the other analogues, overdoses can be so severe that multiple shots of naloxone - the anti-overdose medication that often goes by the brand name Narcan - are needed to revive people. One EMT in Warren County, Ohio told the Times that sometimes as many as 14 doses of Narcan are needed to revive a patient.

“It’s like a squirt gun in a house fire,” the EMT said.

But, as Robert Anderson, chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch of the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC explains, toxicology results, which are necessary to assign a cause of death, can take three to six months or longer.

“It’s frustrating, because we really do want to track this stuff,” he said.

While the process in each state varies slightly, death certificates are usually first filled out by a coroner, medical examiner or attending physician. These death certificates are then collected by state health departments and sent to the N.C.H.S., which assigns what’s called an ICD-10 code to each death. This code specifies the underlying cause of death, and it’s what determines whether a death is classified as a drug overdose, the NYT reported.

We can say with confidence that drug deaths rose a great deal in 2016, but it is hard to say precisely how many died or in which places drug deaths rose most steeply. Because of the delay associated with toxicology reports and inconsistencies in the reported data, our estimate could vary from the true number by several thousand.


lil dirtball Keyser Thu, 06/08/2017 - 12:37 Permalink

> When you consider that liberals are 5 times more likely

You have a link for that, right?

And, everyone knows a liberal son, daughter, mother, father are worth shit compared to a conservative because it's so important to paste a fucking right/left/red/blue/democrat/republican/conservative/liberal label on everything and only see the world thru black & white binary vision.

Dead people are dead people. What an asshole you are.

In reply to by Keyser

not dead yet Juggernaut x2 Thu, 06/08/2017 - 03:38 Permalink

Bullshit. America has always had a love affair with booze and drugs and with them easier to get it's not surprising the death toll is rising. Just as young people don't give a thought their actions could get them hurt, the idiots like to stupidly say the kids think they are invincible, they could give a shit about the future. It's all about the here and now. Drugs and booze are all glorified and if you ain't doing the party circuit in college you're just another loser who gets shunned. All of us are looking for new and exiting things, it's human nature, to spice up our lives but where someone might buy a phone others are partying their way through booze, drugs, and sex. It doesn't help that the spice of life things come easier and sooner than in the past which means society gravitates to nastier stuff sooner and before people get mature enough to say no. Sixty years ago a high school girl putting out, or any girl before marraige, was rare and other girls called them sluts and shunned them. Now we have 13 year olds, and many younger, having sex and no one cares as long as no one gets pregnant. Modern life is filled with boredom whether at home or on the job and rather than work to find positive things to fill the void lazy ass Americans head for, and promote, booze and drugs. Empires at there pinnacle have always found ways, mainly with booze and drugs and decadent behavior, to destroy themselves from within. Couple that with the police state and persuing war around the world the USA is on borrowed time.

In reply to by Juggernaut x2

not dead yet not dead yet Thu, 06/08/2017 - 03:48 Permalink

On the face of it the war on drugs is a fantastic idea. The reality is the war is a disaster because the people it's supposed to protect are in love with drugs and can't get enough. End the war and when the self inflicted body count rises far enough the young people will wake up. I'm not holding my breath. If they can't afford treatment they can go cold turkey. No taxpayer handouts for people this stupid.

In reply to by not dead yet

GUS100CORRINA Implied Violins Thu, 06/08/2017 - 02:12 Permalink

Drug Overdoses Now The Leading Killer Of American Adults Under 50My response: This kind of thing is really tragic to see and just heart breaking for many family members. The solution to any addiction with real success involves nouthetic counseling. Below is a link for a document that discusses and defines nouthetic counseling. http://www.christianstudylibrary.org/files/pub/20140486%20-%20Kruis%20J…My prayers are for people struggling with drugs.

In reply to by Implied Violins

HRH Feant2 Thu, 06/08/2017 - 01:33 Permalink

Oh well. You do drugs and this is the result. I had a sister pass away last month from AIDS. That is what happens when you stick needles in your arm and whore yourself for a fix.

HRH Feant2 techpriest Thu, 06/08/2017 - 01:46 Permalink

She was 45 years old. I called CPS after she gave birth the first time and we found out she was leaving needles and meth on the dresser where the toddler could reach it.

You wanna know the response I got? Basically CPS told me that unless my sister broke a bone there was nothing they could do. She went on to have two more children. Three kids by three different fathers, one of whom is in prison for life.

There was nothing I could do. I went to university and moved on with my life. Families have limited resources due to the laws that are in place.

Very sad situation all the way around. Heartbreaking. You can't help people that insist on self destructing.

In reply to by techpriest

Colonel HRH Feant2 Thu, 06/08/2017 - 02:29 Permalink

Relax HRH you have been on ZH awhile you should know how things work with .gov. Of course CPS doesn't do jack fucking shit about the problem they are supposedly there to take care of, its the goobermint. They kidnap children all day long on the flimisiest of pretexes harming decent families while letting the really bad situations, you know the ones they should be really doing something about slide by all the time. It's not a coincidence.

In reply to by HRH Feant2

HRH Feant2 Colonel Thu, 06/08/2017 - 02:42 Permalink

Yes I know now. It was horrifying when the CPS call line basically told me there was nothing they could do unless I had proof that my sister was beating the kid bad enough to break the kids bones and land them in the hospital. This is going back 27 years. Do I think the situation has improved? No.

I understand how the government works with poor people. Crystal clear. Would I call CPS today? No. I would offer free rent and try and get custody of the kid. Difference between then and now? 27 years, experience, and more cash on hand now than back then.

In reply to by Colonel

Giant Meteor Colonel Thu, 06/08/2017 - 03:07 Permalink

I got the reference right away. You are correct..Sad situation, sad stuff all the way around. Have seen and been a party to some pretty fucked up situations. The trouble is, these "fucked up situations" have become more and more common place, more "the norm." Many families thinking they would never be touched by these tragic scenes, find out otherwise. 59,000 to drugs last year , surpassing American lives lost in all of Vietnam war ..In both examples, instances, folks had families, were human beings that likely deserved a better fate.Many of them had, have loved ones, and many other people, that gave a shit whether they lived or died ..

In reply to by Colonel

HRH Feant2 Giant Meteor Thu, 06/08/2017 - 03:16 Permalink

My family is so fucked up. I had to tell my 84-year old father that my baby sister had died. I had encouraged him to call another sister last month. Did he listen to me? No. No one in my family listens to me. Until shit happens and then I am the scapegoat.

So now my father is in a shitty Commiefornia SNF crying his eyes out because my baby sister is dead. I told him years ago that she had AIDS. That news wasn't new. You don't die from AIDS overnight. It takes years to die from AIDS. I told my father that my sister had been ill. Did he listen? No. No one in my family listens to me. I am not all powerful. There is only so much I can do. I have worked hard to change myself, to improve my life. You can't force people to hear what you have to say. God knows I have tried.

In reply to by Giant Meteor

Giant Meteor HRH Feant2 Thu, 06/08/2017 - 03:48 Permalink

It is difficult stuff, that one is forced to harden themselves to, for sanity and personal survival. Have a little sis who has been lost to many things, like so many of them are .. I remember the day she was brought home, laid in the cradle in the kitchen, and me making noises as I went by, wanting to wake her up to see just what this little bundle was all about!I don't know what you believe, or how you believe in spiritual matters.Just the same, God Bless. I've been on both sides of the river, have both caused unnecessary pain, and been the receiver of it ..Have buried loved ones if nothing else, in my mind, as to finally sleep at night.You tried, you gave a shit, you did your best .. 

In reply to by HRH Feant2

HRH Feant2 Giant Meteor Thu, 06/08/2017 - 04:24 Permalink

I am a Christian. I was born a sinner, saved by the blood of Christ, and I will die a sinner.

I have done the best I can. I had some of my siblings ask me why I still communicate with my father. My answer? I am a Christian. They laughed at me. I am the only one that calls him every day (when I know where he is staying, he has moved to various facilities over the past few months and, because he his not mentally incompetent he is free to leave facilites when they annoy him).

I don't think I have done my best but I tried. I am still trying.

Pray for me. Pray for my family. We need all the help we can get.

In reply to by Giant Meteor

techpriest U4 eee aaa Thu, 06/08/2017 - 01:44 Permalink

You remember those 80s commercials, like the one with the rat that tastes the cocaine-laced water, gets addicted, and then dies form overdose?

It turns out the study had flaws, and those flaws are very instructive.

Firstly, they dropped a single rat in an empty cage, with only two water bottles (one drugged). In other words, a living creature in a dead environment. No wonder the rat was trying to "escape."

Later on, other scientists did a similar two-bottle experiment, but in this case they put in a few rats, both males and females, with plenty of interesting tubes and corners to explore, not to mention the hamster wheels.

In that experiment, none of the rats took much of the drugged water, because they were already having a great time in a functioning rat society.

Now, what could this tell us about political correctness, perpetual fear of criminals and terrorists around every corner, hatred of the social structures that once glued the country together, the severing of the link between man and God, etc.?

In reply to by U4 eee aaa

dot_bust Thu, 06/08/2017 - 01:42 Permalink

I would argue that these drug overdoses involve Americans experiencing age discrimination, which is a rampant problem, especially in Silicon Valley.The average job ad demands a laundry list of skills but miraculously asks for ony 1-3 years of experience. What do you think that means?It means that no one over the age of 29 years old need apply. Why? Well, there's a good reason. Companies get a lower group policy health insurance rate when they hire younger employees.You see, the health insurance companies feel that younger employees are less likely to make medical claims. So, of course they'll offer lower group rates for lower-risk emplyees -- i.e., younger employees.There you have it. Age discrimination has been institutionalized.

AGuy dot_bust Thu, 06/08/2017 - 02:40 Permalink

"It means that no one over the age of 29 years old need apply. Why? Well, there's a good reason. Companies get a lower group policy health insurance rate when they hire younger employees."

From my region and clients that I work with, I rarely see a worker under 30. The issue is that the under 30 (Millenials) are completely useless, with their heads buried in their smartphones all day. No point in hiring someone to do nothing. The only place I see them (under 30) is in no skill jobs, of course head buried in Smartphone. About half of the white collar workforce with the companies I work with is in the 55+ age group and the other half is in the 40+ age group.

"Companies get a lower group policy health insurance rate when they hire younger employees."

Not seeing this at all in Corp America. I just see business turning to automation and downsizing to adjust for rising costs. I expect layoffs to balloon this fall as healthcare premiums for most states are soaring in 2018.

I think we'll see another layoff cycle like 2008/2009 starting this fall unless by some miracle Obozocare/Ryancare is abolished. I think there was some hope that Trump will be able to get tax cuts and Obozocare eliminated
that postponed layoffs. but there are too many obstructionists on both DNC & RNC to make any real change from happening. I think businesses are realizing nothing is going to change and they will start layoffs soon. Plus the retail store closing is soaring so there are going to be fewer retail jobs available causing a double wammy to jobs.

In reply to by dot_bust

Grandad Grumps Thu, 06/08/2017 - 01:42 Permalink

I guess it makes sense in a very perverted way. The CIA rescued the Afghan opium poppy fields and guards them from destruction by the Taliban and others. Then the CIA needs customers for their opium and finds people mired in the painful grip of fear and ego... and a corrupt medical establishment willing to create customers for them.

And the current opiod crisis is created.

Once again the CIA is at the forefront of human destruction.

Volaille de Bresse Grandad Grumps Thu, 06/08/2017 - 05:26 Permalink

"The CIA rescued the Afghan opium poppy fields and guards them from destruction by the Taliban and others. Then the CIA needs customers for their opium and finds people mired in the painful grip of fear and ego... and a corrupt medical establishment willing to create customers for them." Are you sure Fentanyl and other registered killing craps need opium to be made? I think you're wrong : those drugs are synthetised from basic chemical products in labs, they're not a sub-product of opium? That doesn't mean they're not totally evil but leave the CIA "boogeyman" out of the equation...

In reply to by Grandad Grumps

vulcanraven Thu, 06/08/2017 - 01:45 Permalink

My dad was a heroin addict and I haven't seen him since I was 4 years old... don't even know if he's alive anymore. I have zero sympathy for drug addicts.