by Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
The opioid crisis is killing more and more Americans each year.
More Americans are dying from drug overdoses than ever, a dire consequence of the country’s opioid crisis.
Deaths from drug overdoses rose dramatically in the last quarter of last year compared with a comparable period in 2015, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The overdose death rate for 2016′s last three months was 20.6 per 100,000 people; in 2015, the fourth quarter death rate was 16.0 per 100,000. That’s a rise of about 20 percent. The figures are based on final data for 2015 and provisional data for 2016.
The figure for 2016′s fourth quarter topped what had been a record 19.9 overdose deaths per 100,000 people that the CDC had reported for the year’s third quarter.
The number of Americans dying from drug overdoses is directly linked to the country’s opioid crisis: More than three out of five of the deaths involve an opioid, according to the CDC. Overdose deaths from opioids, whether through prescription or illicit use of the drugs, have more than quadrupled since 1999.
In raw numbers, more than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, the CDC previously reported ― a greater number than from HIV or gun homicides in the worst years of those epidemics.