The Overdose Crisis
America’s overdose epidemic is currently at a level we have never experienced before. The nation is now facing the tragic combined effects of a simultaneous mental health and overdose crisis that must be met with an urgent response to save lives.
America's Current Overdose Crisis
Since the beginning of 2020, we have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of overdose deaths in communities around the nation. In some states, like Florida, we have experienced skyrocketing rates with more than a 39% increase in overdose deaths in just one year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 100,000 Americans were lost to overdose deaths in a 12-month period with more than 7,800 recorded in Florida.
The Evolving Crisis: Prescriptions and Street Fentanyl
The beginning stage of America’s overdose epidemic is often attributed to the widespread over-prescribing of opioids. Throughout the previous decade many public safety and accountability measures were implemented to reduce the impact of the pharmaceutical fueled crisis on our country. As a result, opioid prescriptions and related overdoses have declined to historically low levels. Since 2017 we have seen a steep decline (76%) in the amount of prescription opioids being distributed in states like Florida and have experienced similar trends around the nation. Tragically, while prescription opioid use has declined, America is now experiencing an alarming rise in the utilization of the synthetic opioid, fentanyl.
America's Fentanyl Overdose Emergency
The synthetic opioid, fentanyl, can be thousands of times more powerful than typical pharmaceutical opioids in its raw form. Widespread availability and its low cost make fentanyl a popular option for cartels and counterfeit pill producers. The pervasive use of fentanyl in common street drugs and the shadow pill market has created a public health emergency. Many Americans simply seeking pain relief, or the escape from emotional and mental trauma are now faced with the reality that just one dose of tainted drugs could lead to death. America’s youth and vulnerable populations are now overdosing at the highest rate in United States history and leaders must act now to combat the effects of this crisis.
The Latest Statistics
- Overdoses in the US have risen 450% since 1999.
- In 2020 deaths increased by more than 21,000 from 2019.
- In 2020 more than 270 Americans died of an overdose each day, up from 198 the previous year.
- More than 100,000 Americans lost their lives to overdose in the most recent 12-month report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.