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Jaw-Dropping Numbers From the Opioid Crisis

The opioid epidemic in this country is real – and is growing. An estimated 22% increase in drug overdose deaths in 2015 to 2016 speaks to this truth. We at Pathway Healthcare are focused on helping those affected by this epidemic. We are here to help. We care and we understand the impact drug and alcohol addiction and dependency can not only have on an individual but also on family and friends. Pathway Healthcare provides a highly effective, lasting treatment program for opioid, alcohol, and other drug addiction and dependency by utilizing scientifically proven methods and medications in a supportive, professional out-patient environment.

The numbers are continuing to climb in opioid use related deaths and we are here to make a difference. We understand that seeking help can be unnerving, please see the message from our CEO and know that we at Pathway Healthcare are here to help you on your pathway to recovery.

Read More from Julia Laurie at Mother Jones:

About 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year—a staggering 22 percent increase from the 52,404 in 2015—according to the first government estimate of drug deaths in 2016. Overdoses now kill more Americans than HIV did at its peak in 1995, and far more than guns or cars do today.

The numbers, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are provisional and will be updated monthly, according to the agency.

Fueling the rise in deaths is fentanyl, a synthetic opioid up to 100 times more potent than morphine, and fentanyl analogs, or slight tweaks on the fentanyl molecule. This has not always been the case: As the chart below shows, the drivers of the opioid crisis have changed from prescription painkillers to heroin, and then to fentanyl.

As Dan Ciccarone, a professor at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine, recently wrote in the International Journal of Drug Policy:

This is a triple epidemic with rising waves of deaths due to separate types of opioids each building on top of the prior wave. The first wave of prescription opioid mortality began in the 1990s. The second wave, due to heroin, began around 2010 with heroin-related overdose deaths tripling since then. Now synthetic opioid-related overdoses, including those due to illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, are causing the third wave with these overdose deaths doubling between 2013 and 2014 .

The epidemic is straining the capacity of morgues, emergency services, hospitals, and foster care systems. Largely because of prevalent drug use and overdose, the number of children in foster care nationwide increased by 30,000 between 2012 and 2015.

This spring, President Donald Trump created a commission led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to advise the administration on how to respond to the epidemic, but the administration has yet to act on its recommendations.

Credit: Julia Laurie at Mother Jones