There are important reasons why experts track the rates of drug use, alcohol use, addiction, and overdoses throughout the country. It provides them with useful information that they can use to help prevent further drug use and deaths in the future. Sadly, the amount of illicit drug use has skyrocketed and has led to thousands of drug overdose deaths.
For instance, the Center for Disease Control has kept track of the number of drug overdose deaths from prescription drug addiction, opiate addiction, heroin addiction, cocaine addiction, and benzodiazepine addiction from 2001 to 2014. Unfortunately, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of most of these drugs over the past 10 years.
Dangerous Increase in Prescription Drug Use
For prescription drug addiction, there were close to 6,000 drug overdose deaths in 2001. Thirteen years later, in 2014, there were over 18,000 deaths from overdoses from prescription pain pills. You can see the dramatic rise in drug use in this category in recent years – the number of deaths tripled during this time period. Furthermore, the CDC tracks prescription drug addiction and overdose deaths between males and females. In 2001, the number of deaths from prescription pain pills was at about 4,000 for men and 2,000 for women. In 2014, the overdoses were 12,000 for men and 6,000 for women.
Benzodiazepines also had a striking rise in overdose deaths from 2001 to 2014. In 2001, there were a total of about 1,500 overdose deaths. And in 2014, there were a total of 8,200 overdose deaths. The number of women who died from benzodiazepine deaths were at about 500 and for men about 1,000. While in 2014, those numbers increased to 4,000 overdose deaths for men and 3,000 death for women. The number of overdoses by this drug doubled five times for this period of time.
Cocaine shows a different history over the past 13 years. There was a sharp increase in drug overdose deaths in 2006. Deaths from cocaine when down again from 2006 to 2010, but then began to rise from 2010 to 2014. In 2001, the number of deaths from cocaine overdose were close to 4,000, rising to over 7,000 in 2006, decreasing to just under 4,000 in 2010 and then rising to over 5,000 in 2014. Also, there is a dramatic difference between the deaths of men versus the deaths of women from cocaine overdose.
And sadly, heroin shows a clear dramatic rise in overdose deaths from 2001 to 2014. This is likely due to the rise in opiate prescription pain addiction that has spread throughout the country. As people run out of prescription and/or money to purchase more prescription pain pills, they tend to turn to heroin because the active ingredient in both drugs are the same. In 2001, there were just under 2,000 deaths from heroin and in 2014, there were over 10,000. This means that the number of deaths doubled six times during this time period.
The fact that drug overdoses have dramatically increased over the last ten years indicates that that the amount of drug use in general has dramatically increased throughout the country. Perhaps with more education, prevention efforts, and increasing awareness about the dangers of drug use, America can bring these numbers down again.