The rate of deaths from illegal drug overdoses has been rising very steadily over the last 20 years. It has grown to be such a problem, in fact, that overdoses from illegal drugs has become the leading cause of death due to an injury in the United States. An overdose doesn’t have to be intentional to create damage or take someone’s life. Even the act of misusing illegal drugs can lead to an overdose or taking a prescription drug as prescribed, but for someone else.
Facts About Illegal Drug Overdoses
1. The drug overdose death rate has more than doubled from 1999 through 2013.
2. US overdose deaths have increased for 12 successive years.
3. Among people 25 to 64 years old, drug overdose caused more deaths than motor vehicle traffic crashes.
4. Drug overdose was the leading cause of injury death in 2012.
5. The number of people who die every day because of a drug overdose: 100.
6. 81%. That the percentage of drug overdose deaths that occur which are unintentional in nature.
7. 1.1 million emergency room visits are registered every year because of illegal drug use or abuse.
8. Between 2004 and 2005, an estimated 71,000 children were seen in emergency rooms because of accidental drug overdoses.
9. Among children under age 6, pharmaceuticals account for about 40% of all exposures reported to poison centers.
10. In the United States, prescription opioid abuse costs were about $55.7 billion in 2007.
11. Men are 59% more likely than women to die when an illegal drug overdose occurs.
12. 82% of the people who sought out treatment for misusing or abusing drugs were above the age of 21.
3. It is estimated that more than 70,000 lives were lost to drug overdoses in European Union countries in the first decade of the 21st Century.
14. In the 15-34 age demographic, 7.5 million people in the US have used cocaine at least once in their life.
15. The 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 35.3 million Americans aged 12 and older reported having used cocaine.
16. About 200 million people use illegal drugs every year around the world. Out of that number about 250,000 people will die from them.
17. The most popular illegal drug that is used is cannabis. Amphetamines, cocaine, and then opioids round out the other popular illegal drugs.
18. For illegal opioid users, 25% of them will have a lifetime dependency on the drug.
19. 2.1 million years of life are lost due to drug use every year.
20. Drug users in the state of New Mexico are the most likely to die from a drug overdose.
It is a threat that can no longer be ignored. Saying no to drugs has been effective in the past to keep people away from illegal drugs, but these campaigns are not having as much impact as they once did. Combine that with inconsistent drug qualities, spiked drugs, and other supply chain issues that are often not relayed to a drug user and the foundation is set for tragedy.
By knowing the facts and statistics about illegal drug overdoses, we can begin to better understand just how big the scope of this problem happens to be.
How Can Illegal Drug Use Be Stopped?
One of the simplest solutions to stop illegal drug use is to eliminate the mystique that may surround it. Several states have legalized the recreational use of cannabis in the United States, with a majority of states allowing for medical marijuana use. Some might call cannabis a gateway drug, but very few people every die because of overdosing on pot. Stimulating drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, are much more likely to be problematic on the human body.
Because illegal drug overdose deaths are overwhelmingly accidental, a better educational environment involving the dangers of each drug may also be beneficial. Although some people will always take drugs because of the physical or psychological response they receive, those with more information about a drug tend to abuse drugs less.
Preventing drug use must come early on in life to prevent overdoses from occurring. Tolerance levels often build up against a drug, which means people must take more of it to achieve the high that they want. By stopping the cycle, there is a chance that lives could be saved.