Many paramedics and police officers carry an “Opioid Overdose Kit” as part of their standard-issue equipment. The Surgeon General is urging more Americans to acquire the same life-saving medication these first responders give overdose victims: Naloxone.
An average of 174 Americans per day — about one every eight minutes and 20 seconds — lost their lives due to drug overdoses in 2016. The death toll for the year was staggering: 63,632. Nearly two-thirds of these deaths involved an opioid.
In 2016 opioid overdoses—from prescription medications, illicit drugs or a combination of both—killed 63,632 people in the U.S., a 21.4% increase compared to 2015. From July 2016 through September 2017, opioid overdoses rose more than 30% nationwide.
In the 1960s, 80% of people who became opioid addicts were first exposed to the drug through using heroin. Today, 75% first get hooked on opioids through a prescription drug—then start using heroin, which is often less expensive than prescription drugs.