Deaths from opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that over 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2016 alone, and almost half (46%) of the American population has a family member or close friend with a current or past drug addiction according to Pew Research Center.
While the rise of the term “opioid epidemic” certainly has something to do with the highly-publicized and competitive 2016 election rhetoric, it isn’t fake news. According to a study done by Michael’s House Treatment Center, drug overdoses now represent the leading cause of accidental death in the United States—higher than the number of people killed in car crashes. Over a quarter of those deaths were due to heroin or other opioids, and nearly a quarter of all people in the country who have a substance abuse problem are addicted to opiates—more than alcohol, cocaine, or benzodiazepines. This is a 300% increase from 2010.