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Drug Deaths Soaring in the United States

December 17, 2016
Plain English Version

pain killerMotor vehicles and firearms cause thousands of deaths each year. But they are not as dangerous as drugs. Deaths from drug overdoses are climbing. Heroin and prescribed drugs are the reasons.

What is going on? Let us start with New Hampshire. It is part of New England.  It is politically conservative. The state is about to have the first presidential primary. Heroin use is widespread. It is the reason for most drug overdoses.

Dealers are adding a drug to the heroin called fentanyl. It makes the heroin more powerful. A drug called naloxone can reverse the effects of the heroin. Fentanyl makes it harder for naloxone to work. An expert said, “No group is immune to heroin. It is happening in our inner cities, rural and affluent communities.”

Stopping the flow of heroin into New Hampshire does not seem to be working. Treatment programs do not have enough money. Governments have to do something.



Rural, poor parts of America such as Appalachia have a different problem. An expert said, “West Virginia and neighboring states have many blue-collar workers. In that group, there are just a lot of physical injuries.”

About twenty years ago, treatments to reduce pain called opioids became popular. The prescription drug industry started marketing the products. At some point laws were passed to reduce the misuse of painkillers. Addicts began turning from prescription painkillers to heroin.

In New Mexico, there are reports of addiction passing from generation to generation. An expert said, “I have heard stories of grandparents who have been heroin users for years. It is passed down to younger generations; it is almost like a way of life.”

Addictions are becoming an epidemic. The families of politicians are not immune. Jeb Bush had an addicted daughter. A stepdaughter of Carley Fiorina died from addiction. Is addiction a state or federal problem? So far there are no solutions.

Education is essential about the dangers of heroin and painkiller drugs.

Source: The New York Times January 18, 2016

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