The data from the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows both good news (a steady decline in teenage pregnancies) and bad news (an alarming rise in opioid deaths).
BAD NEWS: Heroin Deaths Surge, Surpassing Gun Deaths for first time in US
Opioid abuse is rising rapidly and producing more and more deaths. It often begins with prescription meds and shifts to heroin, usually supplied by well-organized Mexican gangs, whose tentacles reach even into small Appalachian communities.
CDC Director Tom Frieden explains the scale of the problem (White House press release)
The epidemic of deaths involving opioids continues to worsen. Prescription opioid misuse and use of heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl are intertwined and deeply troubling problems. We need to drastically improve both the treatment of pain and the treatment of opioid use disorders and increase the use of naloxone to reverse opioid overdose. –CDC Director Tom Frieden
Now, according to the CDC, the number of heroin deaths has topped those from guns. Unfortunately, that’s because those from guns are going down. For 2015, guns and heroin each caused almost 13,000 deaths.
Kudos to the Washington Post, which composed these two troubling graphs from the latest CDC data.
The first shows a four-fold increase in opioid deaths between 1999 and 2015.
The second graph shows a steady rise in deaths from Oxycodone and other natural opioids, but an alarming spike in deaths from heroin and synthetic opioids.
GOOD NEWS: Teenage Births are down steadily, especially since 2007