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Thread: Heroin deaths surpass gun homicides for the first time in the US

  1. #1
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Heroin deaths surpass gun homicides for the first time in the US

    Heroin deaths surpass gun homicides for the first time, CDC data shows

    By Christopher Ingraham December 8 at 3:50 PM


    Opioid deaths continued to surge in 2015, surpassing 30,000 for the first time in recent history, according to CDC data released Thursday.

    That marks an increase of nearly 5,000 deaths from 2014. Deaths involving powerful synthetic opiates, like fentanyl, rose by nearly 75 percent from 2014 to 2015.


    Heroin deaths spiked too, rising by more than 2,000 cases. For the first time since at least the late 1990s, there were more deaths due to heroin than to traditional opioid painkillers, like hydrocodone and oxycodone.

    "The epidemic of deaths involving opioids continues to worsen," said CDC Director Tom Frieden in a statement. "Prescription opioid misuse and use of heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl are intertwined and deeply troubling problems."

    In the CDC's opioid death data, deaths may involve more than one individual drug category, so numbers in the chart above aren't mutually exclusive. Many opioid fatalities involve a combination of drugs, often multiple types of opioids, or opioids in conjunction with other sedative substances like alcohol.

    In a grim milestone, more people died from heroin-related causes than from gun homicides in 2015. As recently as 2007, gun homicides outnumbered heroin deaths by more than 5 to 1.


    These increases come amid a year-over-year increase in mortality across the board, resulting in the first decline in American life expectancy since 1993.

    Congress recently passed a spending bill containing $1 billion to combat the opioid epidemic, including money for addiction treatment and prevention.
    "The prescription opioid and heroin epidemic continues to devastate communities and families across the country—in large part because too many people still do not get effective substance use disorder treatment,” said Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy, in a statement. "That is why the President has called since February for $1 billion in new funding to expand access to treatment."

    Much of the current opioid predicament stems from the explosion of prescription painkiller use in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Widespread painkiller use led to many Americans developing dependencies on the drugs. When various authorities at the state and federal levels began issuing tighter restrictions on painkillers in the late 2000s, much of that demand shifted over to the illicit market, feeding the heroin boom of the past several years.

    Drug policy reformers say the criminalization of illicit and off-label drug use is a barrier to reversing the growing epidemic.
    “Criminalization drives people to the margins and dissuades them from getting help,” said Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. “It drives a wedge between people who need help and the services they need. Because of criminalization and stigma, people hide their addictions from others.”


    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.87e4d1dd1231
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Very scary. Especially, with kids going into a school system (even a really good one) where stuff like this is readily available.

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    Elite Member Trixie's Avatar
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    Much of the current opioid predicament stems from the explosion of prescription painkiller use in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Widespread painkiller use led to many Americans developing dependencies on the drugs. When various authorities at the state and federal levels began issuing tighter restrictions on painkillers in the late 2000s, much of that demand shifted over to the illicit market, feeding the heroin boom of the past several years.


    I'm no expert on the subject, but this is my impression too. 10 years ago doctors were handing out oxycontin et al like candy, and then when DEA tightened up restrictions, those people were addicted and turned to heroin. I know there have always been heroin addicts but I'm guessing for many of them nowadays, it really isn't their drug of choice, it's just the only choice now.

    Back in my insurance claims days with long-term disability cases, many of the people were in "pain management" after unsuccessful back surgeries etc., and they were like junkies when it came to getting their oxy/morphine/fentanyl scripts filled. They were truly physically addicted, and when it was offered, most of them didn't want to go to rehab, they just wanted their drugs.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    As long as we keep our krokodil deaths down.......
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    Elite Member pinkbunnyslippers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    As long as we keep our krokodil deaths down.......
    I saw an episode about that on VICE's youtube channel. Their skin looked so nasty. I don't know if it's here in the States, but it seemd like it was booming in Russia.
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    Elite Member stella blue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie View Post


    I'm no expert on the subject, but this is my impression too. 10 years ago doctors were handing out oxycontin et al like candy, and then when DEA tightened up restrictions, those people were addicted and turned to heroin. I know there have always been heroin addicts but I'm guessing for many of them nowadays, it really isn't their drug of choice, it's just the only choice now.

    Back in my insurance claims days with long-term disability cases, many of the people were in "pain management" after unsuccessful back surgeries etc., and they were like junkies when it came to getting their oxy/morphine/fentanyl scripts filled. They were truly physically addicted, and when it was offered, most of them didn't want to go to rehab, they just wanted their drugs.
    My great aunt, who has never even so much as tasted a beer in her life, got addicted to opiates after back surgery. She's ok now (after an intervention and therapy), and has gone through additional surgeries with minimal pain meds (which, holy fuck, I have no idea how one even does that) but it just shows you that it's not all sketchballs and idiots that get into trouble. I still can't wrap my brain around how one gets from there to shooting heroin, but I know it does happen. And I won't pretend to understand the ones who do it for fun - that's just messed up.

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    My mom lives in a small town that's part college town/part agriculture. Heroin and pill deaths are out of control there. People are OD'ing in cars in shopping center parking lots and on the front lawns of suburban houses. It's bad. Same thing, people got hooked on pills, docs stopped refilling prescriptions, pills were $25 a pop on the streets and heroin was cheaper.
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    Trixie, I can quote because I'm here by proxy, but we've had many heroin deaths down here too and our the drug court counselor for our circuit basically said the same thing you did. No more pills leads to heroin. It's very sad.
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    Elite Member rollo's Avatar
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    I can't see it getting any better. It's a scary epidemic which is being widely reported.
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    I read a very troubling article about opioids in West Virginia:


    Follow the pills and you'll find the overdose deaths.
    The trail of painkillers leads to West Virginia's southern coalfields, to places like Kermit, population 392. There, out-of-state drug companies shipped nearly 9 million highly addictive — and potentially lethal — hydrocodone pills over two years to a single pharmacy in the Mingo County town.

    Rural and poor, Mingo County has the fourth-highest prescription opioid death rate of any county in the United States.

    The trail also weaves through Wyoming County, where shipments of OxyContin have doubled, and the county's overdose death rate leads the nation. One mom-and-pop pharmacy in Oceana received 600 times as many oxycodone pills as the Rite Aid drugstore just eight blocks away.

    In six years, drug wholesalers showered the state with 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills, while 1,728 West Virginians fatally overdosed on those two painkillers, a Sunday Gazette-Mail investigation found.


    The unfettered shipments amount to 433 pain pills for every man, woman and child in West Virginia.

    - See more at: Charleston Gazette-Mail | Drug firms poured 780M painkillers into WV amid rise of overdoses

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