By Dr. Mercola
Since 1999, the rate of drug overdose deaths has tripled in the U.S., rising to 63,600 deaths in 2016. This represents a 21 percent increase in deaths from 2015 alone, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) report.1 The majority of the overdose deaths — 66 percent — involved opioids, a class of drugs so addictive and dangerous that the opioid epidemic was declared a public health emergency in 2017.
To put this in perspective, drug overdose deaths from opioids totaled 42,249 in 2016, which is over 1,000 more deaths than were caused by breast cancer that same year.2 To say it again, more Americans are now dying from overdosing on opioids than from breast cancer. Such deaths have also surpassed deaths from AIDs during the peak of its epidemic.
Robert Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), told the Daily Journal, “We’ve gone well beyond [the AIDS epidemic] now … It’s hard to take in.”3 The death rates for 2017 appear to be rising still, with provisional data already at an estimate of more than 66,000 overdose deaths. “The fact that the data is incomplete and they represent an increase is concerning,” Anderson told CNN.4