Record 72,000 Overdose Deaths (from ALL drugs) 2017

Bleak New Estimates in Drug Epidemic: A Record 72,000 Overdose Deaths in 2017 – New York Times – Aug 2018

Remember, this number is for all deaths from all drugs, not just opioids and certainly rarely prescribed opioids for the decedent, but rather illicit fentanyl added to all kinds of other drugs (cocaine, meth, heroin). You can read the usual misguided story about “innocent victims” and the horrors of any and all opioid use, but here are a couple of intelligent rebuttals from ATIP members:

Published comment by Richard A Lawhern PhD | Fort Mill SC

The opioid crisis wasn’t caused by prescribing to patients in pain and won’t be solved by restricting prescriptions. Drug prescribing is now at a ten year low, while overdose deaths continue to climb. 

The contribution of medical opioids to overdose mortality is so small that it gets lost in the noise of illegal street drugs. Search for “The Phony War Against Opiods – Some Inconvenient Truths” published by The Crime Report on June 21.

The only significant role of prescription opioids is in initiating drug abuse among people who never saw a doctor. This is diversion and theft, not prescription.

Denial of pain relief and arbitrary discharges and desertions by doctors afraid of DEA persecution are killing patients. This is MADNESS.

See  ATIP White Paper on Prescription Opioids and Chronic Pain


Below is a Twitter conversation that elaborates on the numbers and how they were obtained.

From @StefanKertesz  – 15 August

1/Total US drug overdoses up from 17k (2000) to over 72k. Our are efforts not yet equal to the challenge. See next->

2/Remember that most OD’s involve multiple drugs in combination.

***The CDC allows
one death to contribute to
multiple lines
in a graph like this.***

The CDC has admitted to “unintentionally” inflating the total number of overdoses by sometimes adding together all these numbers, thus counting each death multiple times for each substance found. (see CDC Over-Counting Rx Opioid Overdose Deaths)

But fentanyl & cocaine/stimulants are clearly surging. Is there a slight “dip” on heroin and natural/semisynthetic (often prescribed)?

3/We cannot assert a slight downturn in some overdose categories because (a) the % “pending investigation” for many states is still high, i.e. >25% (esp in 2017) but even further back. We have to wait for longer-term trends. We are still in an escalating tragedy.

4/Two heartfelt sentiments. First this could be FAR WORSE if not for the extraordinary community & civic efforts unfolding in so many communities across America. Republican or Democrat, faith-based or not. I see them I collaborate, and it’s reason for hope. 

5/And while prescribing failures are a serious part of how we got here, our current intense “pill control” focus is imbalanced, often merciless & not protective of many who need respect & care. We can do better.
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/add.14394

2 thoughts on “Record 72,000 Overdose Deaths (from ALL drugs) 2017

  1. Scott michaels

    Thats just too many.
    I strongly believe this is our government and sessions and trump ending the War on Drugs THIER WAY, KILLING OFF DRUG USERS. THEY VERY WELL COULD HAVE POISONED CONFISCATED DRUGS AND THEN REENTERED THEM INTO CIRCULATION.
    THE NUMBERS HAVE GROWN TOO FAST AND MOST IMPORTANT. DRUG DEALERS DONT KILL OFF THIER CUSTOMERS. JUST LIKE BOOKIES NEVER KILLED THE PEOPLE THAT OWE THEM MONER THEY JUST BREAK AN ARM OR A LEG IF THEY DONT PAY. THE NUMBERS OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS ARE JUST TOO LARGE TOO FAST AND WHO BETTER TO BLAME THEN THE CHINESE LACING WITH SUPERSTRONG FENTANYL. I CUST GO BACK TO OLLIVER NORTH AND CRACK COCAINE. NOTHING IS BEYOND THE REALM OF THESE TWO PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY SESSIONS. I COULD SEE HIM SELLING THIS IDEA TO TRUMP.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. canarensis

    Sooo…more than 3 times as many people died of medical errors that same year, but I don’t hear wild screaming for all medical clinics & hospitals & nursing homes & everything else to be shut down. Of course, there are many things that caused an ever higher # of deaths than that, but there I go again, wanting reality or sense to enter into the discussion. Bad girl, no cookie!

    Like

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